Petition to honour Pamela Colman Smith, artist who died in Bude

For sure, I have a vested interest in Pamela Colman Smith who died and was buried in Bude, as I spent many years researching and writing about her.

Now, American, Susan Wands, also a Pamela aficionado, is trying to get a Blue Plaque to commemorate Pamela’s birthplace in Pimlico, London. Susan visited Bude in 2017, and is at the front of this photo.

Visiting group finding out about Pamela Colman-Smith, 2017, at the Bencoolen, where Pamela once lived.

In 2020, Pamela’s plaque was placed at the Castle in Bude by Janine King.

Susan writes:

Pamela Colman Smith, Mother of the modern tarot deck

Pamela Colman Smith co-created the world’s best-selling tarot deck, the Waite Smith deck, published in over twenty countries, with over one hundred million printings. A prolific artist, Pamela’s works are displayed in the Tate Museum, Smallhythe Place Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Folk Art Museum, the Folger Shakespeare Museum, Pennsylvania Art Museum, and Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library Collection.

Born in London in 1878, Pamela moved with her family to Manchester, later to Jamaica and New York City, returning to London in 1899. Pamela, or “Pixie” as she was called, established herself as an artist on many different platforms: illustrator, publisher, costumer, designer, teacher, author, and performer. The publication of her illustrated Annancy Tales included stories from her childhood years in Jamaica and 60 illustrations.

She was the first woman to be exhibited at Alfred Steiglitz’s 291 Gallery, which broke all attendance records, two more exhibits of her works were later staged there. Through her connection with Bram Stoker, she was employed by the Lyceum Theatre, and illustrated Stoker’s last novel, The Lair of the White Worm. Also through his connection, she joined the Golden Dawn, where she met her collaborator on the tarot deck project, A. E. Waite. She self-published her own subscription arts journal, The Green Sheaf, with W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, and many others. The output of her art creations numbers in the thousands.

A remarkable artist who died penniless in 1951 in Bude, Cornwall, and is buried in an unmarked grave, it is time to honour this exceptional artist. You can sign the petition here.

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