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Niclas 
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Social and economic situation of cardmakers?


Usually I am pretty good at searching on the net to find out things, but this question has left me without much results - maybe the History group could help:

What do we know about the social and economic situation of woodcut print cardmakers?

I mean with regard to things like

- How many manufacturers would there be in a "card-producing city" at the same time?

- How many people would they typically employ?

- Would they have a guild system?

- Would they have the full apprentice-journeyman-master system, considering that, once the woodblocks exist, there is much unskilled labour involved?

- What would their social status be, compared to other artisans?

I know I did not specify a time, that is because the topic does interest me during the whole area of mass woodcut card making.

Any help, even just pointing me to the right keywords to feed to Google, would be much appreciated. Also, documented facts are what I really am looking for, but in their absence, educated guesses are welcome, too ;-)



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Lotus Padma 
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I did find this link...I hope it helps somewhat, as it gives specific years for events...it does mention that the creation of cards was expensive...I will keep looking

http://www.wopc.co.uk/history/earlyrefs.html

ETA I also found this http://www.zum.de/whkmla/sp/0910/hae...on1.html#guild which briefly explains the economic situation in regard to art, and how the guilds (at least in Italy) dictated who could work there. While searching, I entered your primary question, and actually got a lot of hits...hth!



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Last edited by Lotus Padma; 05-03-2013 at 08:48.
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Ross G Caldwell 
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Hi Niclas,

As far as I know, there is no monograph on the profession of "cardmaker" through history, either in general or even locally. I am not expert in this, however - the first person to ask might be Thierry Depaulis.

Most of what I know is scattered around in sections of books - you'll need a good library nearby or deep pockets to start researching it.

Henri René D'Allemagne, Les cartes à jouer du XIVe au XXe siècle (Paris, 1906)
This focuses on France (including Strasbourg), but it is still the biggest overall survey of all aspects of cardmaking for any country. There are more specific studies of Avignon, Marseille and Paris that supercede D'Allemagne, but Lyon remains to be done properly.

Arthur Mayger Hind, An Introduction to a History of Woodcut, with a Detailed Survey of Work Done in the Fifteenth Century, 2 volumes (1935; reprinted by Dover, 1963, very affordable and absolutely worth buying)

Wilhelm-Ludwig Schreiber, Handbuch der Holz und Metallschnitte des XV. Jahrhunderts, 8 volumes (2nd ed., 1926-1930)
A reference work, obviously, but it remains the standard catalogue of known impressions from wood and metal - you can catch up with discoveries since then.

Wilhelm-Ludwig Schreiber, Die ältesten Spielkarten und die auf das Kartenspiel Bezug habenden Urkunden des 14. und 15. Jahrhunderts
(especially chapters 5 and 6)

I'll try to answer your questions, but don't take my word for it. The following are my impressions, off the top of my head, without looking anything up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Niclas View Post
Usually I am pretty good at searching on the net to find out things, but this question has left me without much results - maybe the History group could help:

What do we know about the social and economic situation of woodcut print cardmakers?
A general answer would be that it varies depending on your role in the process.

Quote:
I mean with regard to things like

- How many manufacturers would there be in a "card-producing city" at the same time?
Sometimes just a handful, sometimes scores. I believe Ulm and Nuremberg were the largest cardmaking cities in Europe in the first half of the 15th century, with several dozen each, while Lyon quickly surpassed them and by 1500 had as many as 100 cardmakers at the same time (or between 1490 and 1510, if I remember Depaulis' count from some time ago).

Quote:
- How many people would they typically employ?
I can't answer that at all.

Quote:
- Would they have a guild system?
Not at first. I believe the English had the first guild cardmakers (17th century).

Quote:
- Would they have the full apprentice-journeyman-master system, considering that, once the woodblocks exist, there is much unskilled labour involved?
My impression is that it was an apprentice-master system - often father-son. The plates could be acquired by someone else later though, and reused.

To give you an idea of what went on, here is a depiction of a card factory in Paris in the 1680s -

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6FZgFzLwlh...maker-shop.jpg


Quote:
- What would their social status be, compared to other artisans?
I don't know how to compare with other artisans, but for those involved it was lucrative. In the 17th-18th century in France, cardmakers could be government officials too, aldermen, that kind of thing, so I imagine the same was possible in Germany and Italy.

Quote:
I know I did not specify a time, that is because the topic does interest me during the whole area of mass woodcut card making.

Any help, even just pointing me to the right keywords to feed to Google, would be much appreciated. Also, documented facts are what I really am looking for, but in their absence, educated guesses are welcome, too ;-)
Hope that helps a bit. If I think of anything more specific, I'll post it for you. Good luck in your research!

Ross



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Lotus Padma,

many thanks for your answer. The site you first linked to has several more pages that helped me to get some first info, e.g. the inventories posted there - a very good find!

Ross,

thank you very much for taking the time to post with so much detail, and for the really wonderful illustration.

It really is a privilege to be on this forum, with people like you both.

Niclas



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Huck 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niclas View Post
Usually I am pretty good at searching on the net to find out things, but this question has left me without much results - maybe the History group could help:

What do we know about the social and economic situation of woodcut print cardmakers?

I mean with regard to things like

- How many manufacturers would there be in a "card-producing city" at the same time?

- How many people would they typically employ?

- Would they have a guild system?

- Would they have the full apprentice-journeyman-master system, considering that, once the woodblocks exist, there is much unskilled labour involved?

- What would their social status be, compared to other artisans?

I know I did not specify a time, that is because the topic does interest me during the whole area of mass woodcut card making.

Any help, even just pointing me to the right keywords to feed to Google, would be much appreciated. Also, documented facts are what I really am looking for, but in their absence, educated guesses are welcome, too ;-)
These questions are more or less global questions. But it can only be answered for individual cases. So it's WHEN and WHERE and WHO.

For such individual cases you need data, for older situations documents and additionally a researcher, who looked these documents up and prepared them for "internet". Or earlier for books. In most cases likely not much is available.

Since 1971 there is the IPCS (International Playing Card Society), who gathers material in all directions about playing cards. In their magazine 4-6 times a year occasionally playing card productions are a theme. You find the organization in the web.

In books.google.com you find some older sources. Some findings are collected here:
http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=89039
Some of the texts also report about productions.

For the moment there is a series of new articles about playing cards in Florence by Franco Pratesi, mainly focused on the very early time 1400-1460, but also some other topics till 1840. Your questions are not directly answered, but sometimes the articles contain something about the production.

http://trionfi.com/es00
http://trionfi.com/ev00

This (what follows) is especially about early Trionfi card producer. It doesn't contain very much about production conditions (maybe 0.01% or so). The reason is simple. There are seldom old documents which such details. Mostly we are just happy, if we have a name of a Trionfi card maker The documents are often about traders and their account books.
http://trionfi.com/et00

*************

For the number of cardmakers:

Schreiber (1938) collected names of cardmkers. He found 38 in Nurremberg from 1414 till 1500

Pratesi recently found a comparable number for a shorter period in Florence.

Depaulis seems to have found a greater number for Lyon, but between c. 1480-1520

Some documents seem to exist for Tournay (border France/Belgium) since 1427 for 15th century with a lot of production details. I don't know much about it.



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Last edited by Huck; 07-04-2013 at 00:38.
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