Pamela Colman Smith Tarot Artist: The Pious Pixie

Author(s): Dawn G. Robinson

ISBN: 9781781557419
£13.30 £19.00
What makes a talented mystical artist convert to Catholicism after creating the world’s most renowned Waite-Smith tarot deck?

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  • Previously unpublished material from interviews with her errand boy in Bude

  • Unseen Catholic archive information about her later years in Cornwall uncovered

  • Contextual investigation of rumours that Pamela was lesbian, biracial, a synaesthete and the ‘adopted’ daughter of Ellen Terry

  • Starts to unfold the mystery of her unknown Cornwall years

Pamela Colman Smith is the mysterious artist behind the most renowned tarot deck in the world, for many years forgotten. In a revival of interest in esoteric artists and accessible tarot, curiosity about Pamela is now on the ascendant, but there are still many unanswered questions, especially concerning her later life.

Born in London to American parents, Smith was a prolific illustrator/artist who mixed with the great and good of art and theatre, among them W. B. Yeats and Bram Stoker. ‘Adopted’ by actress Ellen Terry, she spent some years with the Lyceum Theatre crowd, also working as an exotic storyteller known as Gelukiezanger in bohemian London.

People have questioned her sexuality, ethnic origins and alleged synaesthesia, assuming her to be biracial and lesbian. These are discussed but the biggest mystery of all is why she converted from mysticism to Catholicism in 1911, removing herself from vibrant London to the isolated Lizard in the west of Cornwall.

There, living in relative obscurity, she evangelised Catholicism in a heavily non-conformist area before moving to Bude in her sixties.

BOOK ISBN 9781781557419
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Paperback
PAGES 232 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 32 colour photographs



Dawn G. Robinson became fascinated by the acclaimed tarot artist Pamela Colman Smith while researching and writing her last book, Secret Bude, about the beautiful coastal town of Bude where Pamela died in 1951. A five-times graduate and mother of five, Robinson previously worked as a teacher, lecturer and freelance feature writer in Lancashire. Now a hyperlocal publisher in Bude, Robinson and her family moved to the south-west in 2010. She now teaches creative writing to adults in Bude, while researching her new book.