The Public Paperfolding History Project

Index Page


Card Castles, Cocottes and Playing Card Monks
There seems to be a correlation between children constructing Card Castles and folding / playing with Cocottes and/or Playing Card Monks. This page attempts to record instances of this correlation in the historical record.


Card Castles and Cocottes


The second volume of 'L'actrice et le faubourien' by MM Marie Aycard (1794 -1859) and Auguste Ricard (1799 -1841), which was published by Lecointe, Corbet and Pigoreau in Paris in 1834 contains the words ' laissait son élève faire des châteaux de cartes et des cocottes de papier' (allowed his pupil to make card castles and paper cocottes'.



This print by Theodore Valerio, titled 'Le Chateau de Cartes', and said to date from 1850, includes two tiny Cocottes in the lower left hand corner.



This print by Charles Bargue after Auguste Toulmouche shows (probably) a governess building a card castle using the Tower Method, while the children look on, the older one somewhat bored. It is in the collection of the British Museum and can be dated to 1860. There are also a number of folded Cocottes on the table, one of which has fallen on its side.


Card Castles and Playing Card Monks

Prior to 1775

The Playing Card Monk design also occurs in a painting by François Hubert Drouais (French, 1727–1775) titled 'Boy with a House of Cards'. I do not know when this picture was painted but it can be no later than 1775 when the painter died.


Prior to 1799

The only information given about this painting, which also shows the Playing Card Monk, was French School, 18th Century, so I have allocated it to the last year of that period, although it is probably considerably earlier.



'L'Enfer sur terre, traduit de l'allemand' by C. G. D, translated by J. G. Gruber, was published in Paris in 1803. It contains the passage 'il avait pris lui-même ses enfans sur ses genoux, et il leur avait fait, sur la petite table, des châteaux et des capucins de cartes'. ('he himself had taken his children on his lap, and he had made them, on the small table, castles and capuchins of cards')



A boy building a card castle and another playing with Capuchins is featured in this picture from 'Les Jeux de Jeunes Garcons', illustrated by Xavier Le Prince (otherwise known as Xavier Leprince), which was published in Paris in 1822, although the drawings are dated 1821. Information from Juan Gimeno.


Playing Card Monks and Cocottes


The design also appears in a painting by Jeanne-Elisabeth Chaudet-Husson (1767 to 1832) entitled 'Marie-Laetitia Murat portant le buste de Napolean', which can be dated to 1806. This picture also shows a folded Cocotte.



'Pâquerettes et soucis : poésies intimes' by Jules Coste, which was published in Paris in 1872, contains the words 'capucins de cartes, des cocottes en papier'.