The Silson Lenormand is the fifth Lenormand deck created by the British artist Neil Lovell (owner of the firm Malpertuis Design where he produces the most wonderful decks).
The Silson is unique, and when I saw it, I knew I had to have it.
Many pseudo-medieval tarot decks have appeared over the years, more or less convincing. But Lenormand? We all know that Mlle Lenormand was the favorite fortuneteller to Josephine Bonaparte, and her deck is even later! There is no medieval Lenormand. But when you see the Silson, you may very nearly believe there is one.
Lovell uses a style somewhere between old manuscript illuminations in ink and water colour (less well known than tempera illuminations but definitely in existence, think of the Utrecht Psalter) and early wood cuts. He steps on Tarot de Marseille territory here. The illustratioins are consistent in style, sparse and easy to read, and the most fun part of me is the writing - in Gothic letters and in Latin! I learned so many years Latin at school that the trauma and fascination still haven't left me (it was my first foreign language). So when I see a Lenormand card called viae, infans, stella or ursa, I get the happy giggles.
There is a wonderful sense of humour behind this painstaking, convincing falsification. And it's beautifully, beautifully done. The cards look like pieces of parchment saved from the farmer who put them into the water for his sick cow to cure it (true story, happened to the wonderful Book of Durrow). The colours are brown-grayish neutrals, the water colour effect is done beautifully. (There is also an uncoloured version, very beautiful as well, but I can speak only about the coloured version as this is the one I have).
There are small card inserts and Roman numerals that are pretty difficult to read. The card backs are simple and beautiful. The little booklet is stock-full with Lenormand information. It's printed in tiny letters though, that's a pity. But you can start reading with this deck from the box, the images are crystal clear and I found no confusing card.
There are an extra card for Man and Woman respectively, sorry: vir and mulier, vir alter and mulier altera (the other man and other woman).
The cardstock is just wonderful, strong and smooth, maybe a bit too slippery but I'm sure that with use, it will become buttery. I love the borderlessness of this deck - when you lay them out, they really turn into one picture where you can move freely with your eyes.
This is a special deck, and I did only "training readings" with it, no real readings (I don't have enough urgent questions for all the decks I own). I can recommend it from my heart. It must be great to take it to an event like a Fair and make people believe it's an authentic deck from the 14th century :-D
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