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The Thomson-Leng Tarot Deck, 3

April 7, 2014

The Cups and Pence Court Cards

The King, Queen and Knight of Cups from the Thompson-Leng deck are indisputably Water-orientated. The King floats on the sea, a sailing-ship in the background. The Queen sits at the sea shore, contemplating the waves. The Knight walks his horse by a stream. All three cards draw their inspiration from the designs of the Waite-Smith pack.

mmTarot 37         mmTarot 38

mmTarot 39         mmTarot 40

However, the Thomson-Leng Page of Cups is a redrawing of Eudes Picard’s design for the card. Both versions show a kneeling Page between two large cups or vases. The e-picard pcvases have flowers in them and the Page is smelling one of these blooms. Picard had Cups correspond with the Element Air and the scent of the flowers points up that association, as does the butterfly above the Page’s head in Picard’s card, flying creatures also denoting Air.

All four Thomson-Leng Pence court cards depend heavily on their Waite-Smith equivalents. In both, the King’s throne is decorated with bulls’ heads, linking the card to Taurus. The Thomson-Leng Queen is contemplative, although, unlike the Waite-Smith Queen, it is not a coin/pentacle she contemplates. On the other hand, the Thomson-Leng Page does have his eyes fixed on the coin/pentacle he carries as he walks exactly as the Waite-Smith does. In both versions, the Knights appear to have brought their horses to a standstill. Unlike the other Knights, they are not in motion.

mmTarot 65           mmTarot 66

mmTarot 67            mmTarot 68

Picard, Waite and whoever designed the Thomson-Leng cards all view Pence/Pentacles as the Earth suit. The Thomson-Leng deck differs from Waite in two ways. It prefers “Pence” to Waite’s “Pentacles” and it eschews Waite’s pentagramatic design found imprinted on his Pentacles. It has instead the outline of an eight-pointed star surrounding a core of concentric circles emblazoned on its Pence. In adhering to the term “Pence”, the Thomson-Leng deck follows long-held-to tradition, Waite’s “Pentacle” being a new-fangled innovation at the time (1935) the Thomson-Leng cards were drawn.

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