This week we received a very special selection of Tarot cards from Magic Realist Press. Made in Prague, the decks follow the standard composition of Trumps and Suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Coins), but the illustrations are are adaptations of none other than those of my beloved J.J. Grandville!
Back in November, I mentioned that the French caricaturist Grandville served as a catalyst when I traded my life as a young scientist for that of an artist and shopkeeper. Artists Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov are obviously big fans of Grandville, too. They worked with an 1847 edition of his book, The Public and Private Life of Animals, to create their "Fantastic Menagerie" Tarot deck, and the results are magnifique!
For Grandville historians, the deck is also available as part of a kit that includes a highly informative and fun book by Sophie Nussle. The Tarot represents a journey and so, after giving historical background on the cards and Grandville, Nussle takes us on not one journey but two. Each card is described as to its place in the greater story of the Tarot, and then Nussle writes a short "magic realist" story involving Grandville or the characters pictured on the card. The effect is pure immersive delight!
Mahony and Ukolov have also created a 40-card deck using Grandville's floral illustrations. It's between printings now, but rest assured we will have it at Castle in the Air when it is available again!