Tumblr, I haven’t seen any good posts about my history girlfriend, so I think you should know about her so you can love her too. This sassy cutie right here is Pamela “Pixie” Colman Smith.
• She is best known for being the artist of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the most famous and widely sold deck in the world, a job for which she got practically no credit and “very little money,” in her words (she died penniless while Waite made bundles)
• Waite, the “designer” (tarot scholar that commissioned it) was very condescending and exacting about how he wanted the major arcana done (even though she ignored him sometimes anyway; they were on a tight schedule and she’d send him fully inked and watercolored designs without his approval so they didn’t have time to redo them). But Waite turned up his nose at using the tarot for divination rather than as a spiritual guide, so he didn’t really give a shit about the minor arcana
• The designs for those are therefore p much all her, inspired by the 15th century Sola Busca deck (the only other one at that point to feature fully illustrated pip cards) which was on display at a museum near her while she was working on the project
• I’ll pause to allow you to imagine her making trip after trip to the museum with her sketchbook, studying the cards and chewing on her pencil. You in love yet? Just wait
• She was a synesthete who would listen to classical music and draw beautiful “spiritual portraits” of the music
• She was a suffragette, and drew feminist political cartoons
• She was an actress and set designer for a while; you can see the inspiration in many of the stage-like cards in her tarot deck
• She was best bros with cool people like Edith Craig, WB Yeats, and Bram Stoker
• Although she faced a lot of condescension from the men around her since they considered visual art a much less valid and sophisticated form of spiritual and intellectual pursuits, she was by all accounts very smart and wickedly funny, and ridiculously sweet and kind
• She was almost definitely super gay (had a very gay social circle, never married, lived alone with another woman for years)
• In conclusion you should all love her and we should call it the Smith deck and not the Waite, thank you and goodnight
She was also a woman of color. (Her father I believe was English and her mother was Jamaican) let’s not omit that.