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View Full Version : Review: Victoria Regina Tarot by Sarah Ovenall



Windsmith
August 2nd, 2007, 03:29 PM
When I first felt the pull to learn to read Tarot cards, I only had two rules for what I wanted in a deck: the pips had to be illustrated, and the cards had to be full color. Then I met Sarah Ovenall's Victoria Regina Tarot, published by Llewellyn, and realized that one out of two wasn't a bad trade for a deck this amazing.

This deck's minors are illustrated - and richly so. Ovenall is a collage artist with a love for the Victorian era. The 78 cards of the VR Tarot are black-and-white collages of images taken directly from magazines, posters, and other advertisements of the period (roughly 1837 - 1901). The images represent some of the things that most interested the Victorians: progress, propriety, the grandeur of the British Empire. To that end, although the cards are all labeled with the traditional suits of wands, swords, cups, and coins, the actual imagery is of essential items of the period: fountain pens, guns, Mason jars, and clocks.

The VR's court cards use the Princess-Prince-Queen-King format. In this case, that's not just a convention: each court card is represented by someone who lived and had influence at the time, most of them actual princes and princesses. All of the Queens are Victoria, at varying stages of her life. Other historical figures represented include writer Oscar Wilde (http://thefool.com/vr/index.asp?viewcard=12w) and William Gladstone (http://thefool.com/vr/index.asp?viewcard=14w). This is an invaluable touch, especially when used in conjunction with the deck's accompanying book, The Victoria Regina Companion by Georg Patterson, which gives enough insight into the life of each figure to illuminate the additional interpretations they might add to the card.

The Victoria Regina is a wonderful deck for Tarot newcomers and old pros alike. The cards feel instantly accessible to the neophyte, and the long-time reader could spend hours scrutinizing the cards in search of the tiny details that make these cards such a singular experience. It's especially useful for anyone who wants to learn the classic Rider-Waite Tarot system but can't stand the art and color scheme of any of the Waite clones. Ovenall bases all of her imagery on the RW system, but with twists relevant to the era. The Chariot (http://thefool.com/vr/index.asp?viewcard=6t) becomes a woman on a bicycle; the Devil (http://thefool.com/vr/index.asp?viewcard=15t) is represented a malicious-looking clown; and the lemniscates above the heads of the Magician (http://thefool.com/vr/index.asp?viewcard=1t) and Strength (http://thefool.com/vr/index.asp?viewcard=8t) (8) are represented by twisted, buckled belts. The only aspect of the deck that might challenge the new Tarot reader (or any reader with small hands) is the size: 3 1/4" by 5 1/2". Then again, I have small hands myself, and I always find getting my fingers around these amazing cards to be well worth the effort.

Alas, the Victoria Regina Tarot is currently out of print, and getting harder to find by the minute. Even Ovenall's own site, http://thefool.com, has run out. But this deck is a real gem; if you encounter a copy somewhere out in the world, snag it at once, and then swing back by Ovenall's site where, if you're a Simpsons fan, you can print out a Happy Squirrel Card (http://thefool.com/vr/index.asp?viewcard=22t) to add to your deck.

VelvetBlade
August 2nd, 2007, 07:20 PM
I have this deck and absolutely LOVE it !!!

kitch
June 22nd, 2008, 10:07 PM
This is my absolute favorite deck. My copy is autographed by the author and artist and I wouldn't give it up for the world! :hahugh:

If you happen across one of these copies, definitely pick it up. It's becoming more and more of a collectors item.

Windsmith
June 24th, 2008, 03:58 PM
This is my absolute favorite deck. My copy is autographed by the author and artist and I wouldn't give it up for the world! :hahugh:

If you happen across one of these copies, definitely pick it up. It's becoming more and more of a collectors item.Heee! Hello and welcome. It's always great to see fellow VRT lovers around.

Trapani
August 2nd, 2008, 03:07 PM
Yeah, the VRT is becoming a collector's item. I had a copy of this deck, but gave one of them to my friend's sister for her birthday a couple of years back. She didn't even know how to read the cards, and now she's quite good at it.

I'm going to replace it ASAP, there's talk of a new edition coming out.

Owd Scrat
January 11th, 2009, 10:38 PM
I'm going to replace it ASAP, there's talk of a new edition coming out.


Maybe the talk you've heard about a new editon is the Chinese version? Though that's been out for more than a year (or longer). The Chinese version is the exact same as the english Victorian Regina Tarot, just the book is in chinese, so if you can't read that, you're kinda outta luck! But hey, at least you have the gorgeous cards.

The chinese reprint (which you can find usually on Ebay) is not a fake or copy of the original. They went through all the proper channels for approval with the original publisher Llewellyn and Sarah. It's a fairly high quality printing. I only have the original set but a friend got the Chinese version and I thought it was great.