Where in The World is Carlo della Rocca?


I have been looking all over the place for information on the Gumppenberg Publishers master engraver DellaRocca in the 1800's Milan. He was the creator of the Soprafino Deck, some times called the Ancient Italian or the Classic Tarot. It was produced in 1835. It was originally called the Tarrochino Lombardo. There was a reprint by Bordoni of Milan in 1889. In the meantime a Fratelli Armanino, in 1885 engraved what looks like exactly the same cards as the Tarrochino Lombardo, but they are double ended. I cannot find out anything about Mr Armanino either. Can anybody direct me toward anything about these two men? ~Rosanne


Rosanne, your question is interesting. It seems that Della Rocca is not considered an "important" artist, because it is not easy to find information about him.
My father has a number of books about Italian engravers, and I hope to find some information there.

On google, I found very little:

A PDF catalogue in which an engraving after Bernardino Luini appears
20. Carlo della Rocca da Bernardino Luini, Adorazione dei Magi, 1810, Acquaforte,
mm846x580; 942x753​

A seller of ancient books offering a book by Byron illustrated with engravings by CDR:
433. BYRON George Gordon: Il Corsaro. Novella di Lord Byron. Milano, Per gli Editori Tipi Bettoniani, 1824. 8° , pp. (4)-XL-124-(4). Con 1 ritratto di Byron al controfrontespizio inciso da Filippo Caporali, una incisione in rame al frontespizio di F. Caporali e 3 tavole f. t. incise in rame da Carlo Della Rocca; leg. coeva in cartoncino rimontato in epoca successiva. Prima edizione italiana in versi. Bell'esemplare. € 250,00​

A site providing information about art auctions. The details are visible only to the paying members. They say that Della Rocca died in 1824, but the deck was engraved in 1835 (?)
  DELLA ROCCA, Carlo (?-c.1824) 
Data di vendita   Titolo                            Dim. cm (in)     Tecnica
11 mag 2000        L'Adorazione dei Magi           42x58       Gravure


Thank you very much for the information. I have sent an email in very hesitant phrase book Italian to the Milan Museum. I will follow it up with a handwritten letter, that my friend is translating into Italian for me. I have poured through hundreds of engravings but have found none by DellaRocca. The cards that bear his name look very expert in engraving to me- but Tarot is not the whole World unfortunately. I will persevere :D ~Rosanne


Hello Roseanne, the timeline gathered from sources

1. Post #33, I had badly translated both the notes from my Solleone decks and my Neoclassical Tarocchi book from Lo Scarabeo (original author was Giordano Berti) on the Soprafino...it is about Di Gumppenberg and his son-in-law Lamperti--but there is no information on the engraver Carlo della Rocca. But if you knew he was Milanese and it was around 1835, would that help?


2. You probably know by looking through the various threads--and if you or others need an updated url to Pasteboard masquerade referenced in the above thread, please check out:


Because I have different copies of "Tarocchino Milanese" as a style dating from 1835 onward (including the double-ended 1887 and circa 1880 Armondo Brothers Sessaville), the fancy engraving with their illuminations seems to be a very popular regional pattern and the beautiful Baroque-to-Victorian flourishes seemed to be picked up....I hope you find other art by della Rocca and Armanino---I wonder if the names were not individuals, but like a group or family art studio or cardmaker printers known more likely in their regional areas.

I just received the double-ended "Soprafino" with the Pentacle ace noting the maker of the cards was Fratelli Armanino of Genova and the information card (separate) says this is an 1887 deck in the Fournier museum...but do not have any other information about it. Here's a quick search of Fratelli Armanino:

4. Fratelli Armanino

A. Fratelli Armanino 1887 pattern in black and white:


B. There is a listing that takes awhile to page through, but Fratelli Armanino of Rome also published a double-ended deck in 1922 listed at this link -- so the cardmaker is known to have published in Geneva and Rome:


C. Genovean Tarot (the deck discussed and available at House of Tarot as of April 2007) at aeclectic.net thread:


D. Engraved card from Geneva with publisher Fratelli Armino, 1904:


E.. Photograph with publisher name from Geneva of Fratelli Armino, 1907 - scroll down, check to the right:


Hope this is helpful.

Any other info I run across or anyone else...hope they post here.



I have to say that there is precious little information on the Soprafino. I'm happy to have this resource to be able to put what little there is in one place. I'd love to find more on how this deck came to be. There are amazing little details that you can see on the Il Meneghello edition.



I'm afraid the only other item is the 'successor' to the Milanese Tarocchino pattern

I may be off a bit, but here's an 1820 design that looks similar to the
the woodcut variation of the Di Gumppenberg card makers--I believe this is the woodcut work of the son-in-law, Lamperti...


A later successor to the Milanese Tarocchino pattern, as done by Fratelli Armino, etc...the double-ended Piedmontese pattern...


I agree with Conniegirl and others, the beautiful, humorous and amazing variety in the Soprafino is worthy of many a thought and curiousity.

I think this is pertinent in terms of the scope of the soprafino design question and makers...if not, I'll add in another thread...

Best wishes,