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Suit System:F
Recommended Name: the Flanders or Flemish pattern.

This is called the Rouen I pattern in Sylvia Mann's All Cards on the Table, 1990.


The Rouen I pattern is one of the export patterns made in Rouen as soon as the 16th Century. It seems to have been specifically designed for what are now Belgium and the Netherlands. Examples made in Rouen are known by Gabriel Du Gripon, c.1580; Robert Bénières, c.1570; Nicolas Bénières, c.1640; Charles Dubois, mid-17th Century. Dutch cardmakers also made this pattern in Amsterdam during the 17th and 18th centuries. No surprise if a Rouennese document of 1585 mentions "cartes marque de Flandres".

This pattern has two major features: the courts bear names and the jacks are very precisely dressed as early 16th-century lansquenets. Since some notarised acts, in Paris (Jean Guymier, 1538) and Antwerp (Jean Maillard, 1545), mention "cartes-lansquenets", it is reasonable to suppose that this Rouen I or Flemish pattern was assumed.

The presence of names and heraldic symbols is a unique feature which is shared only with the Paris pattern. However, the very rigid style of the Flemish pattern is in heavy contrast with the English and Paris patterns. The kings are derived from the Nine Worthies series, and are almost the same as in the Paris pattern. (However "Hector" is instead of "Alexandre".) KH is Jullius Cezar (shield with imperial eagle), KD is Charles (orb, sword and shield with French fleur-de-lis and imperial eagle), KC is Hector (shield with seated lion holding a halberd), KS is David (harp). The queens are very probably female Worthies ("Preuses"): QH is Heleine (Helena), QD is Lucrese (Lucretia), QC is Pentaxlee (or Pantalée, an old form of Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons), QS is Bersabée (French: Bethsabée, i.e. Betsheba). The jacks are more mysterious: JH is siprin roman (a misspelled form of "Scipion Romain", i.e. Scipio the Roman), JD is capitan fély (for "Capitaine Félis"?, i.e. Philip [of Macedonia?]), JC is capitane millant (sometimes spelled Vaillant or Taillant), the JS usually bears the cardmaker's name. These names have been somewhat misspelled by the Dutch cardmakers: Bersabée has been changed in Barbara, Penthesilea has turned to Penthaclee, and Charles has been localised as Karel. By the end of the 18th Century, the Flemish pattern became double-ended and definitely lost its names after 1800. Brussels cardmakers seem to have superseded Amsterdam in the manufacture of these cards, and from c.1830 it became more a Belgian pattern, disappearing from Holland. Finally its career ended early in the 20th century in the province of Liège, where it was known and manufactured, in both single and double-ended versions, as "cartes de Liège" and "cartes de mineurs" ("miners' cards").


As most French patterns, the Flemish/Rouen I pattern is known in 32 and 52-card packs, occasionally in 40 cards (for ombre).

Some makers

Rouen: see above.

Francfort: Heinrich Hauk (1561-1602/03).

Amsterdam: Pieter Meffert (c.1640-1663), the Fouquets(1686-c.l825).

Brussels: A.Sarton (c.1740), N. Bodet (c.1750), P.A. Keusters (c.1770-1800).

Liège: Dubois (early 19th c.).

Turnhout: Brepols, Glénisson, Van Genechten, Biermans, all c.1880-90.

Sources of reference

D'ALLEMAGNE, Henri-René: Les cartes a jouer du XIVe au XXe siècle, Paris, 1906.

DEPAULIS, Thierry: Les cartes de Pieter Mefferdt, (IN) The Playing-Card, XVII/1, 1988, pp.l-5.

In de kaart gekeken: europese speelkaarten van de 15de eeuw tot heden, Amsterdam, 1976.

KINT, André: Le portrait de Rouen no.1 et sa progéniture, (IN) L'As de Trèfle, 28, 1986, pp.11-14.

MANN, Sylvia: Alle Karten auf den Tisch / All cards on the table, Leinfelden-Echterdingen and Marburg, 1990 (nos. 178-180).

THISSEN, Robert: Y a-t-il un portrait belge? Divagations sur les portraits 'belge' et 'hollandais', (IN) L'As de Trèfle, 14, 1982, pp.5-10.

VAN AUTENBOER, Eugen, and CREMERS, Filip: Turnhoutse speelkaarten, Turnhout, 1983 ( 16, nos. 78-81).

The Flanders or Flemish Pattern

Illustration of Flanders or Flemish pattern (jpg 958 x 773)
(Above) P.A. Keusters, c.1770-1800.
(Below) Jordan & Comp., c.1820.
(Temperley coll.)

The International Playing-Card Society 7/1994 ThD

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