What’s new in the world of Traditional Tarot for the coming months, up until 2018?
A few decks mentioned in last year’s article are still being worked on. Michael Bridge-Dickson’s Arcanum X Tarot for example*, the Tarot Maria Celia is supposedly coming end this year through USGS, the New Choice Tarot (see below). The entrees below were the designers and publishers that answered my call when asked: who is going to treat us on some mighty fine traditionally inspired tarot books & decks?
SOLA BUSCA BOOK AND DECK: pre-order
The “first faithful reproduction in 500 years” of the enigmatic 1491 Sola-Busca tarocchi will be available from the fine esoteric publishers, Scarlet Imprint, in the Fall of 2017. The pre-order for the deck started in September, shipping commences from mid-October. The Sola-Busca is not only the earliest complete tarocchi deck in existence, created by a master engraver, it is one of the finest in execution, richness of symbolism and esoteric import. Created for a Venetian patrician client, it’s fully illustrated minor suit provided Pamela Coleman-Smith with the template for the minor cards of the Smith-Waite deck.
The deck will be accompanied by a 66 page sewn booklet, ‘A Guide to the Trumps and Court Cards of the Sola-Busca Tarocchi’ by Peter Mark Adams based upon his original research, ‘The Game of Saturn: Decoding the Sola-Busca Tarocchi’. That book is also available, but still only the paperback. The hardcovers and special editions have been sold out. This historic deck is produced with the permission of the Pinacoteca di Brera Gallery, Milan, and utilizes the gallery’s own high resolution photographic imagery. This limited edition is faithful to the actual cards in all respects More details can be found at Scarlet Imprint.
[Editor’s note: The words ‘first faithful’ are theirs, not mine. They claim to have printed the *only* true faithful copy, even though the Mayer is also based on the Pinacoteca images, as well as the Il Meneghello. If I can get enough budget together for a copy – SI does not do review copies – I might be able to do a comparison on all available Sola Busca’s. It has 900 copies, so for a deck of this price this update does not come too late. The Mayer had a similar print-run.]
UNTOLD TAROT: Spring 2018
Untold Tarot: The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots by Caitlín Matthews, comes from Eddison Books in April 2018. This book explores the practical ways in which pre-20th century tarots with pip or number cards can be read, drawing upon the older cartomantic art of blending cards, rather than reading each from a predetermined list of meanings. Older tarots like the Tarot de Marseille are currently enjoying a great renaissance, but they are like an untold story that everyone has forgotten, because they require card-reading skills of a different era. In Untold Tarot, readers will learn to read their untold story for themselves.
Before the 20th century, tarots had 22 illustrated trumps, 16 illustrated court cards and 40 unillustrated pip or number cards. In effect, five hundred years of tarot reading have begun to be lost, but a new and eager audience of people want to remedy that and learn the art of reading ancient tarots. This book is full of examples of these older methods of reading and gives equal space to the pips.
[Editor’s note: I’ve talked to Eddison books and hopefully they will have a copy ready for me to review]
IAN CUMPSTEY’S PIKE &CLOVER: end 2017, beginning 2018
Ian Cumpstey,a deck designer focused on luxury medieval paying cards, is currently working on a deck of cards with French playing card suits, and with artwork inspired by the Tarot de Marseille.It will be a 52 card deck with the usual playing card structure, with a few bonus cards.
The project, tentatively titled Pike and Clover, will be on Kickstarter later this year. The status of the project at time of writing is that the drawing of the artwork (pen and paper) is essentially complete, being prepared for printing. Cumpstey tried to draw in a style reminiscent of the Conver cards. Butcertainly drew inspiration from the Dodal, the Noblet and also an early Italian Minchiate deck.
This will be Ian Cumpstey’s third deck. He has previously published The Inglewood Hunting Deck, based on hand-painted hunting-themed decks from Germany, and Viceroys, based on the elaborately patterned Mamluk (Topkapi) playing cards. Follow progress on Instagram.
[Editor’s note: I don’t review playing cards but can imagine facsimile and repro/TdM collectors and readers to perhaps be interested in his work. That is the reason I also asked about new projects and heard there might be tarot in his future ;).]
NEW CHOICE TAROT: end 2017
It has taken about two years to complete this new tarot deck -earlier mentioned in the 2016 version of a What’s new in TdM- article – and according to its designer Rosario Salerno it’s been a labor of love. He’s studied some of the classic Tarot de Marseille decks in order to make the deck reflect all the most important symbols, colors and details faithfully and respectfully.
When asked about his art-style Salerno said this: “In order for these cards to fit into our contemporary world, I’ve made new interpretations both with regards to the style of the cards and their meaning. In the New Choice Tarot the classical medieval style of the Tarot de Marseille has been enlivened by a contemporary concept of fashion, taking inspiration from the modern imagery of some specific places such as the Berliner LGBTQ clubbing scene. Each figure became more attractive and sexy, embracing a sense of freedom and sexual revolution, while still keeping the flair of the Middle Ages.”
[Editor’s note: in a previous sneak peek I did say the characters were quite sexualised, but hearing this that is explained perfectly. Salerno is currently working on a video for his IndieGoGo campaign, which he hopes to release at the end of this year]
LE JEU DE TAROT: pre-order now! Delivery 2018
Designstudio UUSI just launched their Invited Artist Major Arcana Series. First to be in to celebrate the artistry and soulful journey of the tarot is French Artist, Chloé Gaillard.
Chloé Marie Gaillard is a French self-taught artist who, after studying fashion in London and Paris and working for Christian Dior Couture along side with John Galliano for a couple years, dedicated herself to painting. Her work is inspired by western art and its old masters. And that last bit is seen in her Tarot deck, which involves a lot of references to the Tarot de Marseille decks. If you want a copy, be quick. There are only 250 tarots in this limited edition Majors Only deck.
[Editor’s note: I am really loving the vibrancy of this Tarot de Marseille. I haven’t seen the deck IRL, so can’t say how true it is to the classic TdM in imagery. But for some reason I can see it in spirit. Devilishly handsome color palette! And knowing Uusi it will be printed on some excellent card stock. Combine that with a limited edition indie deck and the price is pretty decent.]
ROSENWALD TAROT FASCIMILE: Fall 2017
Sullivan Hismans a.k.a. Tarot Sheet Revival just released two of his repro’s after 2 years of work. But the one that interests me the most was just a Majors Only (not an issue for many TdM readers who prefer to read with only Majors) and a lot of people like a full deck. The Tarot de Budapest came in 22 & 78, but not the Rosenwald T22. From what I can see I am especially intrigued by the Rosenwald T22, because it is so different and a different kind of black and white too. And, because *that* is the deck – a little birdie called Facebook told me – that is soon available as a full 78(+bonus)-card deck. I really like the RTT2 style, but can totally imagine that hard-core woodcut fans with a love for the typical TdM colors will splurge for the Tarot de Budapest, so don’t let my tarot-taste-buds ruin the fun in acquiring the one this post wasn’t about ;-).
[Editor’s note: Based on FB & IG discussions – I’ve seen the wrapper it comes in, prettyyyy- you can order -mid-Oct – by e-mailing or PM-ing the designer to acquire a full deck of the Rosenwald on the Tarot Sheet Revival pages. Shipping will be from my Southern neighbor, Belgium. I stated my interest already above, Mr. Sullivan ;). A review copy of this beauty will be an amazing Christmas gift.]
PS* If you missed info on the Arcanum X Tarot, the Modern Marseille from Michael Bridge-Dickson’s hand (creator Orbifold Tarot), you can check the previously written large sneak preview on The Queen’s Sword or the designers’ recent behind the scenes article.