Filippo di Marco, Trionfi card producer for Bartolomeo Serragli
composed by Lothar Teikemeier, last update 15.10.2012

First recorded Trionfi card activity for Bartolomeo Seragli: 1453-03-10
Last recorded Trionfi card activity for Bartolomeo Seragli: 1458-04-01
Recorded in a trial between card makers: 1463-02-28

Dates of Trionfi card activities
all related to Bartolomei Seragli

  • 1453-03-10 Florence - 1 Trionfi deck "fatogli" (total f. 8)
  • 1453-03-21 Florence - Trionfi deck not mentioned, payment possibly related to production of 1453-31-03 (f. 1, s. 4)
  • 1453-03-31 Florence - 2 Trionfi decks "fatogli" (total f. 5 s. 18 d. 4.)
  • 1455-03-29 Florence - 3 Trionfi decks and 2 card decks (total f. 4)
  • 1455-09-06 Florence - (1? or more?) Trionfi decks (f. 2 )
    related: Giovanni di Domenicho (likely Giovanni di Domenico, Trionfi card painter 1449-1453)
  • 1455-09-20 Florence - (1 ? or more ?) Trionfi decks (f. 1)
    related: Giovanni di Domenicho (likely Giovanni di Domenico, Trionfi card painter 1449-1453)
  • 1455-09-27 Florence - decks are not mentioned (f.2 s.6 d.7.)
    related: Giovanni di Domenicho (likely Giovanni di Domenico, Trionfi card painter 1449-1453)
  • 1455-10-10 Florence - 1 Trionfi deck (f.2 s.6 d.7.)
  • 1455-10-21 Florence - "resto di trionfi auti da lui insino" (f.7 s.- d.8.)
  • 1456-04-17 Florence - "trionfi gli deve fare" (f. 3 s.20 d.6)
  • 1456-04-30 Florence - "per parte di trionfi gl’àne a fare" (f.4 s.26 d.7)
  • 1456-05-15 Florence - "per trionfi che da lui" (f.2 s.9 d.8.)
  • 1458-04-01 Florence - 2 Trionfi decks (total f. 3 s.10 d.6.)
  • 1463-0-01 Florence - trial between card makers


Sources are mainly taken from Franco Pratesi's new article series written from November 2011 till now, published here at

SOURCE 1: Filippo di Marco for Bartolomei Seragli 1453-1458

Quote from Franco Pratesi: "1453-1458 Florentine triumphs by Filippo di Marco", 12.01.2012

One old article with ancient documents

I could read the article quoted myself and use it for further study. You can probably imagine my surprise in finding that all the new information precisely derives from the account books kept in the Archivio Storico dell’Ospedale degl’Innocenti, which I had began to study a few weeks ago. (I might add that the only Cambini’s Quaderno that I leafed through had been No. 266, whereas this new information derives from the Nos. 264, 265, 267, and 268. However, it is likely that even if I had instead examined one of these four volumes, my conclusion would have been the same.)
I will now continue the discussion with the help of the information that can be directly derived from the article mentioned above. The article is structured in a first part compiled by Hartt with discussion and comments and in a second part written by Corti with a selection of documents taken from the account books. In the following paragraph, I copy the part of the selection of documents inserted in the original article that is of interest for us. I have labelled A to G these quotations, but have kept in brackets the numbers that they have in the article.

A [3]. Estranei 264, c. 226, left side
Bartolommeo di Paholo Seragli de’ dare...
E adì 10 di marzo [1452/53] f. otto, per lui a Pipo di Marcho portò contanti, sono per uno paio di trionfi richi ebe da lui. f. 8.

B [5] Estranei 264, c. 241, left side
Bartolomeo di Pagholo Seragli de’ dare...
E adì 21 di marzo f. uno largo, per lui a Filipo di Marcho dipintore, portò contanti, sono per parte di lavoro gli à fato. f.1 s.4.

C [6]. Estranei 265, c. 27, left side
Bartolomeo di Pagholo Serragli de’ dare…
E adì 31 di marzo [1453] f. 5 larghi, per lui a Filippo di Marcho dipintore, portò e’ detto contanti, sono per resto di 2 paia di trio[n]fi fatogli, come dise Ghaspare da Ghiaceto. f. 5 s. 18 d. 4.

D [13]. Estranei 267, c. 35, left side
Bartolomeo di Pagholo Seragli de’ dare…
E adì 29 di marzo f. quatro, portò e’ detto, sono per paghare a Filipo di Marcho, per 3 paia di trionfi e 2 paia di charte. f. 4

E [15]. Estranei 267, c. 98, left side
Bartolomeo di Pagholo Seragli de’ dare…
E adì 6 di settembre f. due, per lui a Pipo dipintore, portò Giovanni di Domenicho contanti, per trionfi. f. 2.
E adì 20 detto f. uno, per lui a Pipo dipintore, portò Giovanni di Domenicho contanti, per trionfi. f. 1.

E adì 27 detto f. dua larghi, per lui a Pipo di Marcho dipintore, portò Giovanni di Domenicho contanti. f.2 s.6 d.7.
E adì 10 d’otobre f. uno largho, per lui a Filipo di Marcho dipintore, portò contanti, per un paio di trionfi operati. f.2 s.6 d.7.
E adì 21 detto, L. trenta, per lui a Filipo di Marcho dipintore, portò contanti: sono per resto di trionfi auti da lui insino a questo dì. f. 7 s.- d.8.

F [17] Estranei 267, c. 206
Bartolomeo di Pagolo Seragli de’ dare…
E adì 17 detto [April 1456] L. sedici piccioli, per lui a Filippo di Marcho dipintore, portò chontanti, e quali dise gli prestava per trionfi gli deve fare. f.3 s.20 d.6.

E adì 30 detto f. quatro larghi, per lui a Filippo di Marcho dipintore, portò contanti, dise per parte di trionfi gl’àne a fare. f.4 s.26 d.7.

E adì 15 detto [May] L. dieci, per lui a Filippo di Marcho dipintore, portò contanti, dise èrono per trionfi che da lui. f.2 s.9 d.8.

G [22]. Estranei 268, c. 217, left side
Bartolomeo di Pagholo Seragli de’ dare…
E adì 17 detto [April 1, 1458] L. quatordici s. X piccioli, per lui a Filippo di Marcho dipintore, portò contanti, sono per 2 paia di trionfi. f. 3 s.10 d.6.

First of all, we have to understand the function of Bartolomeo Serragli in this trade, and for this we can directly use the "explanation" provided in the article.

The most striking patron to emerge from this group of documents is the little-known Bartolommeo di Paolo Serragli, who commissions in rapid succession from 1455 through 1457 (Documents 3-22) a fantastic amount of sculpture from Desiderio da Settignano, Andrea della Robbia, and Donatello himself, and paintings from Filippo di Marco and Filippo Lippi, all to the tune of about three hundred florins (including Donatello’s materials but not the final price for the statue), a handsome sum for a family that had just survived ten years of exclusion from public offices and seven years of exile imposed by Cosimo de’ Medici. ... Corti’s new discoveries provide the solution: Bartolommeo Serragli was an art dealer, one of the earliest of whom we have any such exhaustive record.

This dealer was particularly active towards the South of Italy, down to Naples and its royal palace. Some comments can be added now. Interesting enough is that these particular cards were of various qualities and values. Together with rather cheap items, we find pricey ones: remarkable among them is the first pack encountered, in 1453. One could simply conclude that at this rather early time it was still a new and costly kind of production, but also the contrary opinion can easily be supported: the very fact that this pack was indicated as unusually rich may prove that more current ones existed already.

Oddly enough, the only project to vie with the Donatello statue in expense in this entire series of entries is the so-far completely baffling set of "trionfi" for which Filippo di Marco is paid very nearly fifty florins at intervals from March 10, 1452/3 to April 1, 1458 (Documents 3, 5, 6, 13, 15, 17, 22). At this moment Filippo di Marco is a personality of the utmost obscurity. We know nothing of him beyond his matriculation in the Arte dei Medici e Speziali in 1447 (Thieme-Becker, "Allgemeines Lexicon…", XI, 1915, p. 564.) and none of the triumphs can be identified with any certainty; for the moment I will not try. From the documents it is not even possible to count them, although one cannot help noting that they generally seem to turn up in pairs. [This author clearly did not know the denotation of paio as a card pack. FP] There may have been as many as eight of these pairs, one pair is listed as "richi" (Document 3) and another as "operati" (Document 15). The phrases suggest scene-painting or designs for masques or parades rather than pictures, but in the absence of any evidence speculation had best stop at that point. Perhaps they were paintings after all, and if they can same day be identified among the various homeless Quattrocento panels representing such subjects, we will be the richer by one more minor master.

Rather astounding may be the fact that just in one case can "simple" playing cards be found as manufactured and acquired. We had rather expected the contrary situation, in which ordinary cards were the rule and triumphs the exception. Apparently, triumphs were precisely the kind of playing cards most looked for, at the time, in this particular kind of trade.
Somewhat surprising is also the fact that all these different packs were produced by one and the same cardmaker, Filippo di Marco. We can imagine him as a kind of "Florentine Sagramoro", but evident dissimilarities appear, to begin with the actual customers, not a Duke of the Este family, but just an art dealer, who could sell further these cards practically anywhere.

SOURCE 2: Filippo di Marco in trial between cardmakers 1463

Quote from Franco Pratesi: "CARDMAKERS AND WOODBLOCKS ON TRIAL", 21.01.2012

Filippo – Benedetto suit

In his Anhang on Filippo di Marco, p. 552, Jacobsen reports a verdict (which had been found in notary archives of the time and communicated to him by Doris Carl) concluding a suit that Filippo had with Benedetto di Antonio Spigliati.(3) The date is stated as 28 febbraio 1462, but must be read as 1463, owing to the Florentine use of beginning the New Year "ab Incarnatione", on 25 March.
Benedetto had been a coworker of Filippo and their association had functioned for some time. At a given point their agreement breaks down and they come in front of the court. Benedetto requires some money that Filippo owes to him; Filippo demands that no less than seven woodblocks used in card making be given back to him, their owner.
The corresponding judgment is not as simple as we could expect. The judge, Angelo Del Pace, examines the account books of the company and concludes that indeed Benedetto has to receive 15 gold florins from Filippo, who is given one year time for settling this account. «Condempnamus dictum Pippum ad dandum et solvendum dicto Benedicto hinc ad unum annum proxime futurum dictam quan­titatem florenorum XV auri.»
As soon as the amount is given, Benedetto must return the seven woodblocks to Filippo. «Item reperto quod dictus Bene­dictus habet penes se settem tabulas actas ad formandum cartas pro ludendo, vulgariter dicendo naibi, declararnus dictas settem tabulas pertinere et esse dicti Pippi, ... condempnamus dictum Benedictum ad dandum et restituendum…»
If the full year passes without payment, then the seven woodblocks remain as a property of Benedetto. «Et in casu quo dictus Pippus non solveret infra dictum tempus dicto Benedicto dictos florenos XV auri, in dicto casu elapso dicto tempore, ex nunc dictas settem tabulas adiudicamus dicto Benedicto pro dictis florenis XV auri.» (This part of the verdict has been inserted as a marginal note in the page.)
Up to here, everything is clear enough. There are however some complications now. The first is that in the course of this whole year Benedetto must allow that Filippo enters his house and uses the seven woodblocks for his work, whenever he so wishes. «Durante dicto anno dicte tabule sint penes dictum Benedictum et quod dictus Pippus durante dicto anno possit ire in domum dicti Benedicti ubi dictus Benedictus haberet dictas tabulas ad formandurn cartas prout sibi placuerit, et quod dictus Benedictus non possit denegare dicto Pippo quod non formet dictas tabulas prout sibi placuerit.» (These meetings we can easily imagine as embarrassing enough.)
The second complication is that even if payment has occurred and soon after the woodblocks returned to their owner, the matter is not concluded: Filippo has to provide Benedetto with four woodblocks designed by himself, within eight further months. «Et ultra predicta, in casu quo dictus Filippus rehaberet dictas tabulas et postquam sibi tradite fuerint, condempnamus dictum Filippum ad designandum quatuor tabulas pro formando naibi et dare dicto Benedicto infra otto menses postquam rehabuerit dictas tabulas, videlicet otto menses postquam rehabuerit dictas tabulas.»
This is a rather strange, hardly Solomonic, decision. If the seven woodblocks could balance the fifteen florins in case the money was not given, I don’t understand why the same woodblocks are worth a lot more than the 15 florins if they are given: the final judgment sounds as if Filippo had to confer to Benedetto the 15 florins AND the four woodblocks (which I hardly can imagine that he could set up with special care).
We can stop here with the discussion on the judgment; after all, comments on the various verdicts have always been a recurrent topic for discussion, in every epoch. Let us instead use this debate for extracting a few indications of our specific interest.

Repeated Note:

When Ross Caldwell and me in 2003 started to collect Trionfi notes between 1442-1463, we had about 27/28 entries (which I nowadays would count as 31). The major part were the documents of Ferrara, which were collected by Gherardo Ortalli and Adriano Franceschini in the "Prince and the Playing Cards" (1996), after the base laying works of Michael Dummett and Stuart Kaplan around 1980. This collection included 2 notes about Trionfi cards in Florence, found by Franco Pratesi in his earlier work (allowances of the Trionfi game in 1450 and 1463). A graphical representation of this time (with 27 entries) shows the dominance of Ferrarese documents (in black) with a few notes only from other locations (in red; see picture to the right)

In the period 2004 till October 2011 it was possible to add 4 further notes (Siena 1452, Padova 1455, Ancona c. 1460 and Valerio Marcello c. 1460), mainly thanks to information given by Thierry Depaulis.

Franco Pratesi started his new article series in November 2011. Since then the list has gotten 67 new documents till September 2012 (65 of them found by Franco Pratesi, one, now the oldest of September 1440, by Thierry Depaulis, and another one by Veber Gulinelli, who controlled the earlier work of Franceschini and found an overlooked document) and nearly all are related to Florence or its surrounding.

A small book (118 pages) was published around Christmas 2012, Franco Pratesi: "Playing Card Trade in 15th Century Florence" as IPCS Paper No. 7 (ISSN 0305-2133). It contains some of the articles, which before had appeared at this website, those, which treat the early time of 15th century. Thierry Depaulis commented in his foreword: "This book is a landmark in the history of early playing cards in Italy".

Well, maybe not the book, but the research is clearly a landmark in various interests. For the collection of early Trionfi notes it somehow means, that we have within the year 2012 about 200 % more data for the period 1440-1462 than mankind had collected in the 200 years before.

Added later:

In August 2013 the new report of Arnold und Doris Esch: "Aus der Frühgeschichte der Spielkarte. Der Import von carte da giocare und trionfi nach Rom." in Gutenberg Jahrbuch 2013, 88. Jahrgang, p. 41-53, arrived in our redaction. It contains 106 new references to Trionfi decks, which all were found in the customs registers of the city Rome for the period 1453-1465. With this the number of all earlier Trionfi cards records has been doubled and should have reached then c. 210 (from which a few are only considered to be "Trionfi card notes" and don't contain the word "Trionfi" or something similar).


I'd started to sort the new Trionfi card documents overview in October 2012. Articles will be possibly changed according improvements in research.

Old Overview about Trionfi Card documents in 2003

Overview about Trionfi Card documents in 2013


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