The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

February 16, 2016

February 16, 1878

Below is a page from a book authored by Pamela Colman Smith (February 16, 1878 to September 18, 1951). She is the artist of the  famous Waite tarot deck but her earlier work is obviously worth a note. We rely on a post by John Coulthart:

... Annancy Stories(1899) was written and illustrated by Smith, being her own presentation of the Jamaican versions of the Anansi trickster stories. Smith’s mother was Jamaican, and the family lived in Kingston for some years before moving to New York. She was only 20 when she produced this book which is illustrated throughout with full-page plates and smaller drawings. The text is in a Jamaican patois which, as the introduction notes, would have reminded American readers of the Brer Rabbit stories. There is, of course, a shared lineage there that goes back to Africa. The drawings are in a sketchier style than the marvellous Tarot designs Smith produced for the Rider-Waite deck nearly a decade later but you can see in them the origins of her late Art Nouveau style, ...

The caption of the drawing below is: "An' a black puss come in an' axed fe some dinner."



Some other drawings intrigue,  including this scene with the eponymous trickster, a spider figure:



Here is another painting of she did before the Tarot deck; it is titled "The Blue Cat" (1907).



This sphinx portrayal dates to her time with the Golden Dawn group, and is later seen in her tarot art.

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