A paperfolding paradise
The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell
|La Voiture de Cartes|
page attempts to record what is known about the design I
call La Voiture de Cartes. Please contact me if you know
any of this information is incorrect or if you have any
other information that should be added. Thank you.
As far as I know this design first appears in this engraving by Francois Joullain after Charles Antoine Coypel, which shows a child building a Card Castle. The Voiture de Cartes design, made from two folded playing cards, is in the foreground. A card at the lower left bears the words 'Car Coypel 1725', thus giving us the date of the original painting, which appears to have been lost. Several later painted versions and at least one other print are in existence.
The Voiture de Cartes design also appears in the bottom right corners of a painting of Louis-Philippe-Joseph duc de Montpensier, later the duc dOrléans by François Boucher (1703 to 1770), which is in the collection of Waddesdon Manor (acc. no. 481) and which can be dated to 1749. The painting also includes several playing cards which have been folded in half.
The design reappears in the 19th Century in 'Jeux et Jouets du Jeune Age' by Gaston Tissandier was published by G Masson in Paris in 1884, where it is called a 'voiture de blanchisseur' (laundry cart). In this version the card forming the floor of the cart has ben shortened and a separate piece used to attach the horses to the cart.
The original version of the design appears, just as 'voiture' in 'Travaux Recreatifs Pour les Enfants de 4 a 10 Ans' by Marie Koenig, which was published by Librairie Hachette et Cie in Paris in 1898. The second version of the design is a Shepherd's Hut. It is not clear from the text whether or not this second design is the author's own invention.
1910 to 1919
The design also appears, as 'Voiturette' in 'Mes Jolis Jeux' by Henriette Suzanne Brés. I do not know the date of first publication of this book but it cannot have been written earlier than 1910, since it refers to 'Distractions Enfantines', which was published in that year, or later than 1919 when the author died. The earliest edition I can find is dated 1920 so it is possible that it may have been published posthumously.