Adam McLean's Tarot Site

Some ten years ago I began seriously collecting tarot cards and artwork. This grew out of my interest in allegorical and emblematic art. I have no engagement at all with using tarot for divination or personal exploration, but only in the artwork. Neither am I especially drawn to esoteric interpretations. I have about 2500 items in my collection which is recognised as possibly the largest and most comprehensive in the world. I have not been selective but gathered everything I could afford. I have recently realised that I have in my hands an almost complete documentation of the artwork found in modern tarot designs.

In the last 50 years an enormous amount of creative energy has been focussed on the tarot. Well over three thousand tarot decks have been designed and published in some form. There is a delightful variety of ways in which the various designers and artists have realised new tarot decks. The tarot with its tight structure of 22 major arcana each based on a clear image, and the 56 minor arcana with its four suits of pips and court cards, might seem a restriction on the creative imagination, but the opposite appears to be the case, as there are some astounding interpretations and reworkings of tarot imagery to be found. This recent evolution of the tarot suggests that it has now become a kind of emblem book reflecting the social history of our age back to us.

I have written a study course of 25 lessons exploring various aspects of modern tarot art. In 2012 I began to construct a fully descriptive and analytical database of modern tarot. This now amounts to 2000 entries with a substantial number more to add. I hope to be able to complete this over the course of 2014.

I have published 28 tarot in my Art Tarot series and may do more in future. These were issued in small editions and those that are out of print are eagerly sought after by collectors who missed out on the initial sale. I also have a number of tarots from my collection that I wish to sell off. I will begin setting up some pages here through which people can purchase items. This will get running later in June 2014.
Tarot exhibitions.
The Masjutin Tarot - probably the first art tarot.
The Mebes (1937) Tarot.
The Kashmir Tarot.
The Chapel at Avenieres.

Projects in progress

Descriptive Database of published tarots. This is initially based on my own collection. About 1100 items have been entered into the database to date, and I have appointed an art history student to work with me over the coming months to complete the listing. So expect further updates over the next few months.

Descriptive Database of unpublished tarots. In parallel with the descriptive catalogue of published tarots I have been able to find a colleague, Stacy Flinn, here in Scotland, willing to help build a catalogue of unpublished tarot designs. I myself have gathered some hundreds of these over the last years and as some of these are astounding, it would be good to have these in a catalogue which I could eventually place on this website. I will report on progress with this later and post the database onto the web site. I have called on members of the Tarot Collectors Forum to help by sharing information about such unpublished tarots.