The Artist of the Raider-Waite Tarot Deck

Born Feburary 16th, 1878 in Middlesex, England of American Parents. Her childhood was spent between London and Kingston, Jamaica.

During her teens she toured England with the Theatre company of Ellen Terry and Henry Irving, She then took up Formal Art Training at the Pratt Institute of Brooklyn, graduating in 1897.

She then returned to England, where she became a Theatrical designer for miniature theatre, and in illustrator of various Books and Posters.

Around 1903 she joined The Order of the Golden Dawn, and began to paint various visions that came to her while listening to Classical Orchestra.

She turned to writing and illustrating books which realised only minor success. Becomming frustrated with commercial publishers, who rejected most of her work, she turned to self-publishing and publishing in collaboration with her literary friends.

Her life seemed to be perking up in 1907, when Alfred Stieglitz selected her works to be the first non-photographic work to be shown at the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, (Later known as 291, on Madison Avenue) she received marginal praise from critics and 33 of her paintings sold, but by the end of the year her fiscal situation was a shambles.

In 1909, under the Commission and Guidance of Arthur Edward Waite, she undertook for token payment, a series of seventy-eight allegorical paintings described by Waite as a "rectified Tarot Pack". The designs were published the same year by William Rider and Son.

Despite the odd Art show, and favorable reviews by Critics, her various works never took off. Her frustration reached a peak in 1914 when she confided to a friend that she didn't care for people anymore.

Years earlier she published a poem called "Alone" Which provides insight into her isolation and despair.

Alone



Alone and in the midst of men,
Alone 'mid hills and vallies fair;
Alone upon a ship at sea;
Alone-- alone, and everywhere.

O many folk I see and know,
So kind they are I scarce can tell,
But now alone on land and sea,
In spite of all I'm left to dwell.

In cities large-- in country lane,
Around the world-- 'tis all the same;
Across the sea from shore to shore.
Alone-- alone, for evermore.

This poem reprinted with permission from proper parties. (No one actually owns it!)


Despite further attempts to write and illustrate books, most of her works were never published.

She Never married.

She had no known heirs except for the elderly female companion that shared her flat.

She died on September 18, 1951, penniless and obscure.

There was no funeral to honor her life.

She has no known Gravesite.

All of her personal possessions were sold to honor her debts, and her heir did not receive an inheritence.

The vast majority of her work has since disappeared, and her last legacy to the world is the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck.

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