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Deck of educational astronomy cards pertaining to the solar system. Zodiac constellations, planets, the sun, comets, and asteroids are decoratively and scientifically rendered in shades of black and white as if the night sky were being viewed through a draped window flanked by pillars.
The cards are divided into four series identified by the different coloring of the drapery hanging from the top border. The four series correspond to the seasons of the year: spring is blue, summer is red, autumn is yellow, and winter is white. Two leading cards vary with each suit: the zodiacal card, showing the three signs in which the sun appears during each season (for example, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces in Winter) and the luminary card, which shows the Moon for Spring, the Sun for Summer, Comet of 1680 for Autumn, and Orbits for Winter (Moon and Sun are missing from this set). The two leading cards are complemented with 11 cards of planets and asteroids that remain the same in all the suits: Jupiter, Saturn, Herschel (Uranus), Tellus (Earth), Venus, Mars, Mercury, Pallas, Juno, Ceres and Vesta.
The cards are in their original book-shaped leather box. The inside of the book cover lid has a pasted engraved frontispiece cartouche entitled "Astronomia" featuring a classical female figure of astronomy with globe, armillary sphere, and octant above two studious cherubs flanking crossed telescopes. The original printed booklet of rules for the game, fitted in the box, in present.
Henry Corbould was a British painter and illustrator -- member of a family of artists that included his father, Richard, his brother George, and his son. He won a silver medal for life drawing at the Royal Academy schools and exhibited paintings in the style of Johann Heinrich Fuseli, with whom he studied there, illustrating the literary works of Homer, Milton and Shakespeare. He went on to have a successful career in book design and illustration, including Byron's Don Juan (1823) and The Book of Poets (1844). Corbould also spent 30 years making precise drawings after ancient marbles and antiquities in the possession of British noblemen and the British Museum. He also occasionally was commissioned to make drawings for the Dilettanti and Antiquarian Societies, of which he was a member.
F.G. Moon was a London publisher of prints and color plate books active during the second quarter of the 19th century. His best known publication is probably David Roberts' The Holy Land: Views in Palestine, Egypt and Syria (1842-49), a six-volume collection of color lithographs.
Full publication information: G. Woodfall, Angel Court, Skinner Street, London. F.G. Moon, 20 Threadneedle Street, London.
Provenance: The Stuart and Marilyn R. Kaplan Playing Card Collection; Laura Catharine Hannam 1831 (as inscribed in ink in booklet).
"Henry Corbould," The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. http://www.artnet.com/library/01/0194/T019429.asp (2002).
Williamson, George C., ed. Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers. London: G. Bell and Sons: 1930. Vol. 1, p. 328.