Lady Charlotte's gift

[This post was first published on 3 May 2012.]

Lady Charlotte Schreiber bequeathed the original Game of Hope deck to the British Museum in an extensive collection that includes numerous Tarot decks and cartomancy decks (see British Museum website).

Lady Charlotte (1812-1895), the daughter of an earl Albemarle Bertie, was by all accounts a remarkable woman. She married twice, had ten children and was a businesswoman who assisted her first husband running the Dowlais Iron Company in Wales. Both husbands served as Members of Parliament. Lady Charlotte spoke several languages and together with her second husband travelled extensively and collected ceramics, fans, playing cards and board games. Lady Charlotte, known as Lady Charlotte Guest before her second marriage, is above all famous for translating The Mabinogion, a collection of tales from Welsh mythology.

Lady Charlotte, who died at age 82, outlived both her husbands. Her first husband, John Josiah Guest (1785-1852), was 27 years older than her and her second husband, Charles Schreiber (1826-1884), was almost 14 years younger than her.

Another item bequeathed to the museum by Lady Charlotte that was also published by GPJ Bieling of Nuremberg is a pack of 25 cards for learning the alphabet, each card displaying various forms of a letter and a coloured vignette in the centre (see British Museum website).

A few additional bequests related to cartomancy and board games are described for interest sake below:

Nouvelle Maniere de Tirer les Cartes Invente en 1792, a print containing a table of cartomantic interpretations for playing cards and two examples of card reading layouts (see British Museum website). (Caitlín Matthews has advised me that this print is taken from Etteilla's book "The Only Way of Reading the Cards".)

Nuovo Giuoco del Biribissi, a popular Renaissance gambling board game similar to bingo and roulette with numbered and illustrated compartments arranged in a grid (see British Museum website). (It is interesting to note that quite a few of the board compartments contain symbols that are also included in the Petit Lenormand deck.)

Il Gioco dell'Oca (Game of the Goose), a family entertainment racing board game with numbered compartments arranged in a spiral that is thought to be the prototype for many European racing board games (see British Museum website).

Lady Charlotte included a selection of cards from her collection in three large illustrated volumes titled "Playing Cards of Various Ages and Countries" that were published in 1892, 1893 and 1895 (the year she died). She wrote that she reproduced the cards "so as to bring within reach of students objects that are often rare and costly, and throw light on the manners and customs of former times" (Source: The Wunderkammer of Lady Charlotte Guest by Erica Obey).

Merci beaucoup Lady Charlotte! ♥


Rules of the Game of the Goose:

[This section was first published on 17 June 2012.]

[I bought Il Gioco dell'Oca Edizione Stella Marca from eBay Italia and translated the rules and game information into English for my weekly Italian conversation class. I could not find them online, so here they are in case anyone else needs them. Please let me know if anyone spots any errors.]

Regole del gioco:

Gioco per 2 o più giocatori. Per giocare si prendono 2 dadi numerate dall’1 al 6 e si sorteggia chi deve tirare per primo. Chi fa 12 con il primo tiro va al 89 e può tirare ancora una volta con un dado solo. Se ottiene 1 vince il gioco, ma se un altro giocatore fa pure 12 va all’89, costringendo il primo a tornare daccapo. Chi va al 71, dove c’è la fontana, torna indietro dove era prima. Chi va all’82 dove c’è la torre, paga la posta rimanendo in questo casella fino a che un altro giocatore, facendo pure 82, resti in sua vece. Chi oltrepassa il 90, torna indietro di tanti punti quanti ne eccede e se si ferma su di un’oca, retrocede di nuovo. Chi al primo tiro fa 9 con 6 e 3, va al 26; con 5 e 4 va al 53. Chi va nelle caselle dove c’è un’oca prosegue ricontando il numero fatto, se trova un’altra oca raddoppia. Inoltre pagano una posta fermandosi un turno i giocatori che cadono nelle caselle 6 Rovine; 19 Vino; 33 Pozzo; 42 Castello; 52 Stazione; 58 Scheletro. Vince il gioco chi per primo arriva al 90 (Traguardo, Arrivo).

Rules of the game:

Game for 2 or more players. To play they take 2 dice numbered from 1 to 6 and draw for whom should throw first. Who gets 12 with the first throw goes to 89 and can throw once again with a single die. If they obtain 1 they win the game, but if another player also gets 12 they go to 89, compelling the first to return to the beginning and start over. Who goes to 71, where the fountain is, returns back to where they were before. Who goes to 82 where the tower is, pays the penalty of remaining in this square until another player, who also makes 82, takes their place. Who exceeds 90, goes backwards by how many points they exceed 90 and if they land on a goose, moves back again. Who with the first throw gets 9 with 6 and 3, goes to 26; with 5 and 4 goes to 53. Who lands on a square where there is a goose moves again by the same number, if they land on another goose they double up again. Furthermore, players pay a penalty of missing a turn when they land on the following squares: 6 Ruins; 19 Wine; 33 Well; 42 Castle; 52 Station; 58 Skeleton. Who arrives first at 90 (Finish, Arrival) wins the game.

Le caselle del gioco dell’oca (secondo me):

1 via (start), 2 candela (candle), 3 padella (frying pan), 4 serpente (snake), 5 oca (goose), 6 rovine (ruins), 7 rosa (rose), 8 caraffa con bicchiere (carafe with glass), 9 oca (goose), 10 spatola (spatula), 11 uccello (bird), 12 dadi (dice), 13 casseruola (saucepan), 14 oca (goose), 15 fiori in vaso (flowers in vase), 16 pensée (pansy), 17 farfalla (butterfly), 18 oca (goose), 19 vino (wine), 20 carote/ortaggi (carrots/vegetables), 21 gatto (cat), 22 frutta (fruit), 23 oca (goose), 24 ombrello (umbrella), 25 campana (bell), 26 dadi (dice), 27 oca (goose), 28 cicogna (stork), 29 corona (crown), 30 profumo (perfume), 31 cucciolo/cane (puppy/dog), 32 oca (goose), 33 pozzo (well), 34 mela (apple), 35 borsa (handbag), 36 oca (goose), 37 violino (violin), 38 scopa (broom), 39 elmo (helmet), 40 aragosta (lobster), 41 oca (goose), 42 castello (castle), 43 pere (pears), 44 anfora (amphora), 45 oca (goose), 46 sole (sun), 47 luna (moon), 48 stella (star), 49 mucca (cow), 50 oca (goose), 51 studente (student), 52 stazione (station), 53 libro (book), 54 oca (goose), 55 macinino (mill), 56 posate (cutlery), 57 cavallo con carro (horse with cart), 58 scheletro (skeleton), 59 oca (goose), 60 spade (swords), 61 sciatore (skier), 62 dinosauro (dinosaur), 63 oca (goose), 64 brocca (jug), 65 uomo (man), 66 vespa (scooter), 67 chiave (key), 68 oca (goose), 69 donna (woman), 70 limone (lemon), 71 fontana (fountain), 72 oca (goose), 73 aquila (eagle), 74 antilope (antelope), 75 pesce (fish), 76 scala (ladder), 77 oca (goose), 78 vitello (calf), 79 bulldog, 80 lampada (lamp), 81 oca (goose), 82 torre (tower), 83 orologio (clock), 84 uva (grapes), 85 calice (chalice), 86 oca (goose), 87 martello (hammer), 88 olive (olives), 89 dadi (dice), 90 arrivo (finish).

Buon divertimento!