I was forwarded the Guardian article about this by a friend and immediately went down a rabbit hole, trying to find out everything I could about Leonora Carrington who I had never heard of previously.
After all that digging around I just had to get the book as soon as it came out and brilliantly enough the release coincided closely enough with Christmas for it to be one of my presents!
From the cover to the end this book is so opulent, glistening in gold, shining in silver, and all on excellent quality paper making it an object of desire within itself.
Once you start reading and finding all about the occult life of Leonora Carrington though you are transported to another time, a brilliant introduction, touching opening essay from her son, then onto the meat of the book, her work.
This initially explores her work and the influences from the occult learnings of various groups in the 19th and 20th century, including The Golden Dawn, mesoamerican myths and culture, Celtic gods and goddesses, feminism, Jungian theory, and explored this amalgam through examples of Leonora’s works.
It also talks about her relationship with other artists who used the subconscious and the occult as part of their practice and shows her influence on them, placing her firmly within the canon of surrealism and at the same time making you wonder how she was so firmly hidden for so long.
We then move on to the cards of the Major Arcana themselves and look at each one in turn. Each cards symbolism is explored in relation to traditional forms and how this was adapted to be significant to Leonora’s idea of divination from the card.
Some diverged greatly, with different colours and icons used whilst others stayed mainly the same though with important changes to fit into the mythology of the cards that were being developed.
A stunning book from start to finish, an object to lust after, and a stepping off point for me to discover more about Leonora Carrington.