GS Chosson Tarot / TSR014 / hand painted
The cards are constructed from two printed sheets of 160gr verger paper, glued together with handmade glue from a traditional recipe. The sheets are then pressed and dried before being painted and cut by hand.
Number of Cards: 78
Card size: 12 x 6,5cm
Packaging: Handmade and hand-coloured, artisanal cardboard box
Box Size: 13,5 x 8 x 5cm
Each deck is dated and signed
In 2016, I began to redraw the first cards of the GS Chosson Tarot while exploring the ancient Italian tarots, notably the uncut sheets of the Budapest. Last year, I felt it was time to complete my recreation of this tarot, which I consider a masterpiece and a reference.
Restoration of the GS Chosson Tarot
To redraw the GS Chosson tarot, I used the only complete set of 78 cards by François Chosson, kept at the Museum Blumenstein (Solothurn – Switzerland). Its creation date makes it the predecessor and model of many tarots. To improve the clarity of my analysis, I observed and compared original scans of different tarots such as Madenié, Convers, Faultrier, and even Suzanne. This approach allowed me to give meaning to unclear traces covered with opaque paint but still visible on the GS Chosson.
To make the colors more vibrant, I reused the same colors as before, except for the yellows, which I made brighter, and the greens, which I modified to give them a more bluish aspect. The final result gives the whole a very modern, powerful, and colorful look that characterizes this tarot.
Particularities of the GS Chosson Tarot
The Two of Coins summarizes the mystery of its origin. To trace the history of the GS Chosson, I studied the information found on this card, which bears the name of François Chosson and a damaged date resembling “1c72”. For me, there is no doubt that the correct date is 1672 because the remaining elements complement each other obviously to form this date.
According to the book “Les cartes à jouer du XIVe au XXe siècle” by D’Allemagne, François Chosson, a master cardmaker from Marseille, worked from 1734 to 1756. On April 11, 1736, he gave a sample of the wrapping paper of his cards to the guild of cardmakers and the police authorities of Marseille. We can assume that at that time, Chosson began his own production of this tarot in his workshop. Chosson kept the date but replaced the name of the former cardmaker with his own, which was common when taking over a cardmaker’s workshop. We can observe that his name does not follow the curves of the original design and integrates quite poorly into the whole. The name François, on the other hand, could also date from a previous state of the wood engraving and have been preserved by Chosson.
However, the plates were engraved at a much earlier period, in 1672. The initials “GS” found on the shield of the Chariot and on the Two of Cups traditionally correspond to the name of the engraver active around 1672.
GS Chosson, cardmakers in Marseille
But who could GS be? In D’Allemagne’s list of Marseillais cardmakers, we find the following names: Sallonnetz (Jacques) and Sallonnetz (Guilhen) in Marseille, 1662. Then, Sellon (Guillaume), Marseille, 1676-1715, and Sellon (Jacques), 1676-1708. Considering the proximity of the dates and names, it is possible that they are the same cardmakers, and Guilhen Sallonnetz is actually Guillaume Sellon in his Occitan form. We also learn that Guillaume Sellon was, at the time, the most important manufacturer of Marseille cards, according to the taxes he had to pay.
The GS Chosson is the faithful restoration of the oldest existing version of a Tarot de Marseille Type II it bears this name because it was produced in Marseille by François Chosson around 1736, but the plates of cards were engraved much earlier, in 1672, by someone identified only by the initials “GS”.