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Pamela Coleman Smith – Classic Tarot Illustrator

I was extremely excited to see an article on the CNN website this morning about Pamela Coleman Smith. We all know about the Rider-Waite tarot deck (sometimes simply called the Rider deck), but it should more rightfully be called the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. I personally love the Pamela Coleman Smith Commemorative Set, which contains a book, the tarot deck, and additional samples of her artwork.

Pamela Coleman Smith Commemorative Tarot Set

Rider published the deck (in 1909). Waite “directed” it. And Smith is the actual illustrator, who created the images that are so familiar to us today. Her images are used as the basis for hundreds (if not more) other artists as they design their own rendition of the classical tarot deck.

Although Pamela Coleman Smith is the artist who created the timeless images, her name is frequently excluded from the name of the deck itself. That’s a shame.

Incidentally, she is sometimes referred to as “Pixie”. I have found some lovely decks (both tarot and Lenormand) that are based on her artwork but are slightly different varieties of her basic artistic style.

The link to the article is here: The woman behind the world’s most famous tarot deck was nearly lost in history – CNN Style.

Her art is currently being featured in an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

The article has inspired me to do additional research on Smith, and it offers an interesting look at her life.

Sharing it in case you may find it interesting as well.

You can find a list of my tarot card videos on this page – most of the decks I share are based on the RWS deck.