Piedmont-style tarot has been on my mind lately, with decks and information popping up unexpectedly. Toward the bottom I’ve listed links to the six blog posts I’ve done so far on Piemontese decks.
I recently saw one of Lo Scarabeo’s reprints of Guala’s 1860 deck for sale online. I was tempted to round out my Piedmont collection, but it was the version with card names in four languages on a wide border at the bottom of each card. This ruined it for me. Since the deck was over-priced, I think the seller was mistaking it for one of the better versions without the extra border. Read more
Giordano Berti, creator of a facsimile 15th-century Sola Busca deck, has made another treasure available to collectors — a very beautiful 19th-century Piedmont-style deck.
The Piedmont region of Italy has a vigorous, centuries-long tradition of tarot deck production. Its unique spin on the Tarot de Marseille is documented back to the late 18th century. In 1832, card maker Stefano Vergnano of Turin was honored by the Chamber of Commerce for the quality of his playing cards. Berti’s deck re-creates a Vergnano tarot deck printed at that time. Read more
Deck collectors have three versions of the fifteenth-century Sola Busca deck to choose from: decks published by Lo Scarabeo, Il Meneghello, and Wolfgang Mayer. My hands-down favorite is the Mayer deck, currently sold by Giordano Berti, so I’ll describe it first, then compare it to the others. Read more
The Sola Busca Tarocchi was created about 1490 in Northern Italy, and is named for the family who owned the deck until 2009, when they sold it to the Italian government and it was placed in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan.
There are two theories about the deck’s creator: either he was an artist named Nicola who had connections to Florence and Ancona; or he was an unknown Ferrarese artist living in Venice; or perhaps it was printed in Ferrara and colored in Venice. We don’t know if the artist created the deck himself, or if it was a commission. A small number of decks were printed from the plates, and a handful of unpainted examples from four different decks are scattered about in museums and private collections. The 78-card Sola Busca in the Pinacoteca di Brera, which was painted a decade or so after it was printed, is the deck that Mayer and Il Meneghello used as the basis for their recent facsimile publications. Read more