A reproduction of the "Coat of Arms Game" produced by the Marquis of Brianville in 1686, this pack was printed by Editiones del Prado in 2004 it was produced by the Fournier playing card museum from a original pack in their collection.
In the 17th century France produced a large number of non-standard playing cards which were adopted in other countries, including one of the most famous series of educational cards of all time. The idea to produce these cards is said to have come from Cardinal Mazarin, French Minister of State, under whose charge was the young Louis XIV. Mazarin had been worried about the young King`s lack of interest in academic studies, so he asked Jean Desmartes to prepare a series of games which had some educational qualities.
Desmartes produces a series of Four decks, the first issued was "le jeu des fables ou de la metamorphose" these were intended to instruct the King in ancient mythology and fable, the second pack was titled "le jeu des rois des France" or "le jeu de l`histoire de France" and shows various Kings from Pharamond to Louis XIV. the third pack "le jeu des reynes renommees" depicts famous female figures from Dido to Queen Elizabeth, and the last pack was "le jeu de la geographie" showing national costumes from different parts of the world.
This series of cards started a avalanche of new playing card designs, with the card`s face being employed to instruct in many useful areas of everyday life. In 1658 the first pack of playing cards devoted to heraldry was produced by Claude Oronce Fine, M de Brianville of Lyons. The designs met with a warm reception, and was produced in many editions in such places as France, Italy, Holland, England, Scotland, Germany and Spain. The format of the cards is similar to the Desmarests cards, with a drawing and instructive text, and a suit mark in the upper left-hand corner.
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