Jacques Vieville Tarot

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Jacques Viéville Tarot - "Lightning" (corresponding to the Tower card of the Tarot de Marseille


The tarot of Jacques Viéville was published in the 17th century in Paris.

While the deck is similar in many respects to the Tarot de Marseille pattern, it is not considered by tarot historians to be a Tarot de Marseille deck. According to Andy Pollett's website, the deck's imagery is influenced both by the Tarot de Marseille pattern and by the Ferrara Tarot pattern [1].

The Jean Noblet Tarot de Marseille (dated circa 1650) was being published in Paris at about the same time.

The Jacques Viéville Tarot is different from the Tarot de Marseille in the following general respects:

Trump numbering

The numbering of the trumps is different. In the view of some tarotists, this suggests that the system of trump numbering of the Tarot de Marseille is one of system among several and is not necessarily a primordial system of trump numbering. Also the Viéville cards have no titles.


Some of the trumps have greatly different imagery from their Tarot de Marseille counterparts. In the view of some tarotists, this suggests that the imagery of the Tarot de Marseille is one set of imagery among several existing concurrently.

Those trumps with greatly different imagery are the following:

  • Lightning card (depicting a tree), corresponding to the Tower card
  • Sun card: depicts a male on horseback (This image was the basis for the Sun card in the Waite-Smith Tarot.)
  • Devil card: depicts the devil walking, without the two imps that one sees on the Tarot de Marseille card
  • Hanged Man card: depicts the hanged man upright
  • Star card: depicts a sitting astronomer
  • Moon card: depicts a sitting woman using a spindle


This deck is attributed to Jacques Viéville, a master card-maker in Paris who was active from 1643 to 1664. Tarot historians generally do not give a more precise dating to the deck's manufacture.

Jacques Viéville is considered to be a pseudonym. An explanation of the pseudonym is given on Jean-Claude Flornoy's website [2]. Flornoy mentions that the first name Jacques is meant to indicate that the card-marker belongs to the countryside tradition, as opposed to the city tradition (Jean = gens (people) = people). Viéville is intended to represent the old man (Vié = Vieux = old) who lives in town (Ville = town). Thus, according to Flornoy, "Jacques Viéville" represents a card-maker from the country tradition who is an old man who lives in town.

A model of this deck, complete with all 78 cards, is housed in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

Deck creation and/or publication process

Woodcut, coloured by stencil

Modern versions

Jacques Viéville Tarot (Jean-Claude Flornoy restoration) - Sun card
  • A photoreproduction version of this deck (from the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris) is published by French publisher Héron.
  • Jean-Claude Flornoy has, on his website, 'restored' versions of some of the trumps from the deck. However, no deck (be it trumps or all cards) has yet been published by him. [3] [4]
  • Roxanne (widow of Jean-Claude Flornoy) published a 'retraced' version of the 22 trumps in 2012. It is a restored (cleaned-up and redrawed) edition of the 22 trumps edited by Editions Letarot in 2012. The 22 trumps are presented twice, since some of the original cards could have been mirrored.


Online Deck Images - links