Basset, or bassette, or bassetta, was a card game which was devised
in the late 16th century. It was thought to be invented in Venice by a
Pietro Cellini and later introduced into the French and English courts, by
visiting ambassadors, becoming popular with Charles II.
Though it had a reputation for being one of the most ‘polite’ forms of gambling, it was high risk and very large losses and wins could be made, which is why it was favoured by persons of the highest rank. There are reports that huge fortunes were both won and lost.
The game’s rules appear to make it a bit of a lottery and as with many card games from this period, it became absorbed into other versions.
The wonderful drawing above is by Carolynne Morris of her lovely bitch Bo, sleeping
soundly on her bed. It is very interesting just how many members of the BHOC
have artistic talents.