Pamela Colman Smith
(16 February 1878 – 18 September 1951)
Pamela Colman Smith is the artist who helped A. E.
Waite to illustrate the Rider-Waite tarot deck. Born in London, she studied
art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn but never got a degree. She returned to
England in 1899 and soon after she was introduced to Waite while joining the
Order of the Golden Dawn in early 1900's. Waite is often cited as a sole
contributor to the Rider-Waite tarot but the truth is that Pamela Colman Smith
had great impact on a design of the cards, especially on the Minor Arcana
where she sometimes only loosley followed A. E. Waite instructions. The original
drawings are lost. She had never married and her art never got some significant
succes in later part of her life so she died poor in 1951 in England, most of
her work posthumously sold to cover her debts.