Colman Smith, Pamela
 Tarot contribution
Pamela Colman Smith (February 16, 1878 - September 18, 1951) was an artist, illustrator, and writer. Her chief claim to fame is designing the Waite-Smith deck of tarot cards for Arthur Edward Waite.
Smith was born in Pimlico, Middlesex (now London), England the daughter of an American merchant from Brooklyn, Charles Edward Smith and his Jamaican wife Corinne Colman. Due to her father’s job with the West India Improvement Company, the family often moved, spending time in London, Kingston, Jamaica and Brooklyn, New York.
Smith's mother died when she was just 10 years old, and, often separated from her father due to his work, she was taken under the wing of the Lyceum Theatre group in London led by Ellen Terry and Henry Irving. Her early teens years spent travelling around the country with the theatre group did much to influence her later art work.
By 1893, Smith had moved to Brooklyn to be with her father, where, at the aged of 15, she enrolled at the relatively new Pratt Institute and studied art under the noted artist teacher Arthur Wesley Dow. She graduated four years later, and returning to England in 1899, she became a theatrical designer for a miniature theatre and an illustrator. She joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1903, and met Waite.
Waite encouraged Smith to produce a tarot deck with appeal to the world of art, and the result was the unique Waite-Smith Tarot, which has endured as the world's most popular 78-card tarot deck. The innovative cards depict full scenes with figures and symbols, and with Smith's distinctive designs they have become the basis for the designs of many subsequent packs.
Smith wrote and illustrated several books about Jamaican folklore, including Annancy Stories (1902) which were about Jamaican versions of tales involving the traditional African folk figure Anansi the Spider. She also did a great deal of illustration work for William Butler Yeats and his brother Jack, but apart from the tarot deck, her art found little commercial success.
She never married. After the end of the First World War (1914-18), Smith received an inheritance that enabled her to move to Cornwall, an area popular with artists. She died in Bude, Cornwall on the 18th September 1951. After her death, all of her personal effects, including her paintings and drawings, were sold at auction to satisfy her debts.
- Waite-Smith deck (also referred to as 'Waite-Colman Smith' and currently published by US-Games as 'Rider-Waite')
 Books on this author
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