Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

Some updates. First some real cards.
Pixe's Astounding Lenormand Cards
"Published by Edmund Zebrowski in an edition of 400". (Awww shucks !!!) ... 8087077871
- - - -
  • Somewhere (But I didn't bookmark it) I read that this deck is created under the conciet that it is a hidden oracle deck that Pamela Colman Smith herself designed and embedded in the RWS Tarot. (or something like that).
    - 'A Chronological Inexactitude'
    by Pen would make a very fitting companion (and perhaps box illo ) for this faux PCS deck :D
    and here is a link to Pen's post at Aeclectic where she posts a direct link to the "Chronological Inexactitude" itself. ... stcount=15
    It would be so cool if this new deck 'Pixe's Astounding Lenormand Cards' were to contain Pen's very naughty photoshopped version of the famous Pixie portrait, just like the U.S. Games Pamela Coleman Smith Commemorative Edition Deck contains a reproduction of the original photo, wouldn't it ?!?!
Vice Versa Tarot
  • Another Faux PCS Tarot deck I ran across last week. It shows each card of the RWS deck from behind ! Wierd and just cool enough to be on my want list.
And also some wonderfully done digital facsimiles
'Pamela A' Tarot cards online
Deliver me from reasons why you'd rather cry - I'd rather fly...
Jim Morrison - The Crystal Ship

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

Dover Press has published a book & CD-ROM with Electronic Clip art including what looks like a Pamela A deck. It's called The Art of Tarot Cards. There is no acknowledgment of US Games, which means, I suppose, that they don't consider the deck to be under copyright - except that they claim their own copyright for the 'electronic art.' They allow the free use of up to ten images in publications. They ask you to write for permission for the use of more than ten images.

I seems to me that this opens the door to the use of the RWS images without having to go through US Games??? In fact, they don't even acknowledge US Games as the copyright holder.

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

Hi Mary ! - Thanx for the notice. Actually, I bought that book/CD and reviewed it in another thread-
But I totally forgot to make a post about it's RWS deck facsimile here on this thread ! That is probably because this particular scan is done very poorly. Most of the other decks are nice enough scans, and it is worth getting for the price. Especially if you do a lot of postings online about historical Tarot decks. But Kenji's deck scans of the RWS, posted at the link given in my most recent post above, are far far better.

As for the copyright status of the RWS, It is said by some to be expired in U.S. (at least for the early editions/versions of the deck) and will be soon in U.K. But I have no certain legal knowledge of this, nor any bookmarked links on the subject. Over at Aeclectic, Kenji says that he asked permission to do what he did and U.S. Games gave it.
For writers on the Tarot, it is or will be nice when no one has to worry about a DMC complaint. But as for anyone making a real world edition of the deck, who cares. The PCS Commemorative edition is one of the nicest and most well done card decks I have ever held. Why even bother trying to compete.

Speaking of copyright infringement and Pamela Colman Smith in the same breath, It appears that 'Pixe's Astounding Lenormand Cards' (or 'Pixie's Hidden Lenormand' as it is also called) comes with a fake adevertisement and promo material from the extinct De Laurence company (see 'Unboxing Pixie’s Lenormand' link given above), as if they have actually published this new deck! Very funny, since L.W. De Laurence infamously pirated the book and deck that PCS and Waite designed and published elsewhere. I haven't seen this material myself, but it sounds like a really cute touch. In fact, since I learned of Pixie's letter to Alfred Steiglitz, where she opines that she has done a Tarot deck for little pay, I have idly wondered if, secretly, she might have actually been in collusion with L.W. to publish the pirated edition, and made a profit! :ymdevil: His portrait does appear somewhat dashing, with turban and mustache (and possibly a little crazed).
Deliver me from reasons why you'd rather cry - I'd rather fly...
Jim Morrison - The Crystal Ship

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

Rider-Waite-Smith forum
at aeclectic
This sub forum has many interesting threads related to Pixie and especially her deck of cards. Including this one below

More Rider-Waite deck scans
Roppo at Aeclectic has added his scans (in B/W) of a 1922 deck to Kenji's scans (color) on the thread Antique RWS images in High Resolution ... 736&page=4
the link for the actual scans is at his blog- ... mages.html
Rollo's scans are B/W only, and he is presently working on the rest of the 'pips'. For Tarot and art historians, these will be great for a study of Pixie's line art proper.
Deliver me from reasons why you'd rather cry - I'd rather fly...
Jim Morrison - The Crystal Ship

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

Hi hoo,

I see that the Sola Busca inspiration for Pixie's 3 of swords has been mentioned already, but has anyone else noticed the "S" series Mantegna inspiration for the Lion, Eagle, Man and Ox on Pixie's Wheel of Fortune? They come from card #50, Prima Causa from the "S" series, but do not appear in the "E" series, which seems to be the one that gets reproduced.

Both series can be viewed here:

...but herewith, a comparison pic.

Mantegna-and-Pixie-Smith.jpg (76.92 KiB) Viewed 12004 times
The stars are matter, we are matter, but it doesn't matter! Don Van Vliet

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

Hi Sumada. It's been 2 months since I've had time to do any posting. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you on your post here. If you ever check back here again, here's my belated answer.

These 4 figures are the 4 evagelists from the Bible. Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. They are all over the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, from Cathedrals to books (to playing cards).
Here is a nice little wikipedia entry on them -
On tarot cards, It they are always in the 4 corners of the 'world' card. I see that Pixie used them on both the World card and the Fortune. I never noticed that before!

They are also differently drawn on the 2 cards. On the Fortunel card, she represents them in full winged figure. Her world card has only the faces of the creatures (man, eagle, ox, lion - drawn, to her credit, differently from the faces of the full figures on the Fortune card). Perhaps this was to make room for the naked lady?!

OOPS - I see that what you must have meant in your post is that there seems to be a very close similarity between the Mantegna and PCS representations proper. A one for one correspondnece. I do see that! The Man figure has his head at a different angle, but the other three are very close. The Eagle in particular. If the Mantegna-S was ever exhibited, or a book was printed, in her day, it would be possible.

Another possibility is that there are multiple sources for these same figures in this explicit manner. I have found representations of the 4 evangelists everywhere and not really paid attention to them, or the differences in all the various artists depictions of them. They are ubiquitous in Renaissance art and architecture. From now on I am going to notice them more.

I have oftened wondered how much of the PCS or Waite-Smith Tarot is Smith and how much Waite. Wondering now why she chose to use the 4 evangelists on 2 different cards. It seems to be unique.

As for your finding, wether they came from the actual Mantegna deck, or another source with the identically drawn figures, I must say that it is not unusual for an artist working on a project for print, like a deck of cards, to lift elements from older publications and simply insert and combine them with the rest. :D
Deliver me from reasons why you'd rather cry - I'd rather fly...
Jim Morrison - The Crystal Ship

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

I had previously missed Sumada's post as well. I find the visual parallel impressive. Although the S-Series Prima Causa is not in the collection of the British Museum, I think it very likely that the engraving had been reproduced in books. I don't believe that Pamela accidentally created a tarot card so similar to an image that at her time was often considered to be an ancient tarot card. The hypothesis that she must have seen the Prima Causa seems better to me.

Here is a passage from "A Descriptive Catalogue of Playing and Other Cards In the British Museum" by William Hughes Willshire, 1876.

At first sight, but little or no connection may be traced between La Prima Causa, 50, of series A, and Le Monde, xxi. of the tarots, except in the symbols of the four Evangelists, which exist in both, though it must be admitted not in the earlier version of 1470 of the sequence of Mantegna [i.e. the E-Series]

It's clear that the author knew the E-Series Prima Causa, but we can't tell if he had actually seen it or had just read an accurate description.

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

I remember dark, that there was a special exhibition of playing cards (?), when Pamela Smith had been in London. Wasn't it, that they had photos of the Sola Busca ?, likely also some Mantegna Tarocchi.

I think, it was discussed once at aeclectic (?) ... ndon+smith
... not totally satisfying (not fitting totally my memory) ... but interesting

At least in 1908 Arthur M. Hind already worked on engraving ...
... and later Hind wrote about Mantegna Tarocchi and Sola Busca (1938)

I think, there was an exhibition.

... little later ...
In 1907, the owner of the cards, the Sola Busca family, had reasonably good quality (for the time), black and white photographs made of the complete deck. A set of these photos were presented to the British Museum. Since that time, the original deck has never been placed on display nor again photographed; the current location of the deck is unknown, at least to me!

Shortly after receipt of the black-and-white photographic images of the Sola-Busca Tarot, they were placed on exhibit at the British Museum in London. It is probable that the experience of viewing of this exhibit provided the initial stimulus for Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith to subsequently create their own tarot deck with all 78 cards illustrated, just as all 78 cards of the Sola Busca pack are illustrated.
I think, it is not, what I remembered, but it is talked of an exhibition.

In the case, that London didn't have S-Series engravings then, they might have borrowed some from elsewhere.

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