“Historians unanimously attribute Lombard origin to the Tarots of Marseilles.” – From the booklet
According to the companion booklet to the Ancient Tarot of Lombardy, the Lombard decks first originated in the 1400’s, which included the Visconti di Modrone, the Brambilla, and the Visconti Sforza. During the 1600, the repressive economic policies of the Spanish regime quashed the production of Tarots.
However, in the early 1800’s, a series of Tarots were produced under the management of Ferdinando Gumppenberg, administrator of the “Regia Fabbrica” that was created at the time of Napoleon’s conquest. Producing innovative decks that moved away from the increasingly popular Tarot of Marseilles style, the Lombard decks nevertheless experienced a decline in production.
The Ancient Tarot of Lombardy by Lo Scarabeo recreates the original Lombardy design that was inspired by neoclassical art. As such, the Major Arcana titles are in Italian, while the Minor Arcana pips bear no titles. The unnumbered card is called “the Madmen” (Il Matto) in this deck, while Trump 1 is titled The Fool (Il Bagattelliere).
While ecru serves as the background hue, the muted coloring of the rest of deck is primarily blue, red, greens, yellows and black pen-and-ink styling. The images look smudged, as if printed on newsprint, and then smeared by handling.
The card backings are ill fitting with the rest of the deck, primarily because the snow-white background peppered with the cornflower blue motif looks both stark and kitschy against the images of the Ancient Tarot of Lombardy. However, the backings are full reversible…
If you’re interested in the older Tarots, you may want to consider adding this deck to your collection. Alas, I found it a disappointment. I enjoy the Jean Noblet Tarot so much better—although that is, admittedly, a TdM-style deck.