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Charles: P.14628-R(40)

Object information

Current Location: In storage


King of Hearts


Printmaker: Gatteaux, Nicolas Marie




From a complete pack of 52 playing-cards; hand-coloured woodcut on white laid paper with watermarked fleur-de-lis. A single image, hand-coloured in black, red, yellow, dark blue and lighter blue inks. The King, a full-length figure, holds a swords in his right hand and an orb in his right. There are three fleur-de-lis on a shield on his cloak. A printed title or name at upper right: 'CHARLES'. This name for the King of Hearts (thought to be a reference to either Charles VII or Charlemagne, the founder of the Holy Roman Empire) is unique to French playing cards where the court cards are associated with historical or mythical characters. The single image pattern of the court cards was designed by engraver and sculptor, Nicolas-Marie Gatteaux (1751-1832) in 1813, whose name can be found at the centre of the shield on the Jack of Clubs. His designs were based on earlier versions of the so-called Paris pattern, which became the official French pattern in 1813. The verso is blank. The pack can be dated through reference to the Jack of Clubs, which is printed with the name for French excise administration (Administration des Contributions Indirectes) and a date of 1816. From the 19th century until 1945, the appearance of playing cards for domestic consumption was regulated by the French government and all cards were produced on watermarked paper made by the state to show payment of the stamp tax.

Legal notes

Bequeathed by Spencer George Perceval, 1923

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1923) by Perceval, Spencer George


19th Century
Production date: circa AD 1816


Height 82mm x width 53mm

School or Style


Techniques used in production

Hand colouring

Identification numbers

Accession number: P.14628-R(40)
Primary reference Number: 224744
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Wednesday 5 September 2018 Updated: Monday 2 October 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Charles" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-17 21:33:43

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{{cite web|url= |title=Charles |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-17 21:33:43|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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