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Colourful but loses the line of the Original
on 12 June 2012
I have not been studying Tarot long, but I have been an artist for very very long....
These cards are immediately very pretty and bright and the card backs are adorned with a delightful gold on lapis blue starry design.
The images on the cards themselves are derived from Pamela Coleman Smith's orginals and appear to have been redrawn (traced?)with a much finer line and then coloured in ( and I use that term advisedly!) with coloured pencils.
I found pencil an odd medium when a watercolour painted effect would have been far more attractive than the exhaustively crayony look of these.
'Oh dear', you may think, but then again there is something to be learned from these images which show some of the passages in the original designs anew. However, I was disappointed with some of the cards. I love PCS's design for The Sun. In this deck the baby looks sideways as though he is falling off his horse.
The sun is not the marvellous flaming arcane symbol of the Original; in the Universal RW,he a rather bland faced celestial being.
Similarly, the hand lettering on these is naively calligraphed and crude compared to the Original pack.
Strangely, Mary Hanson Roberts has included Pamela Coleman- Smith's signature on each card. Hmm.
I found this deck a naive but jolly and clear interpretation of the Original designs. I am yet to see a satisfactory re-rendering of the PCS designs. I think they do need to be re-rendered because the original artwork is lost and subsequent reprintings are a little crude, but I would like to see a fantastic esotericist and artist like Robert Place do it. He is great at line ,colour and is an erudite master of Tarot meaning.
The card stock of these is slippery and a little thin but they feel nice in the hand and are easy to shuffle.
I think these cards are intended for a more cheerful, modern appeal and they certainly are less 'soupy' and '1900's English' in colour than the Originals.
I absolutely adore Pamela Coleman Smith's art; I feel this American tarot deck is quite usable and nice, but not as beautiful and heart stirring as the English printed deck of PCS's Original Rider Waite.