Malpertuis

Extraordinary Collections

About Malpertuis imageAbout Malpertuis imageAbout Malpertuis image

DESIGNER BACKGROUND

My name's Neil Lovell and I'm the designer of all the decks on the site and the owner of Malpertuis Designs Ltd. I was born and brought up in rural Northamptonshire, England and after four years at Oxford I moved to London where I've lived ever since.

I haven't always been a designer. For many years I had a successful and interesting career within research and brand consultancy which took me all around the world working for global clients. My later years within research were especially dedicated to developing new methods of presenting research information through design, and eventually my 'design side' won out over the more commercial aspects of my work. In 2014 I therefore left the industry I'd worked in for years to become a full time illustrator and designer.

I first became interested in card design well over twenty years ago and quite early on entertained ambitions to design my own deck. My first 'soft' attempt at a deck, the experimental Nijinsky Tarot, was designed in the mid 1990's. For various reasons this deck was never published, but after some time I decided to design another deck with the specific intention of getting it published. This was the deck which - after a long development - finally became the Tyldwick Tarot, and a fuller account of the story behind that deck can be found here. I published this deck as a limited edition in 2013. After a break, I decided that I'd enjoyed the whole experience of creating this deck so much that just one wasn't enough - I wanted to design more.

Probably like most Tarot enthusiasts, I discovered Lenormand much more recently. My first Lenormand deck, the Malpertuis Lenormand, was published in late 2014 and is available from this site. This deck was initially intended as a companion to the Tyldwick Tarot, but inevitably ended up changing throughout the design process into a more independent creation. Since then I've been working on further Lenormand decks and am also in the early stages of creating another Tarot deck.

Neil Lovell

Unfortunately, Neil passed away in early August 2018. His passing was very sudden and a surprise to all his family and friends.

It was while sorting out his business affairs that I really came to understand what a huge talent he truly was, to all the family he was simply an Oxford educated eccentric. He was never one to talk about his success, and although I knew he had been asked to contribute to a special deck produced for charity, all his other successes passed us all by.

A simple post on the Malpertuis Facebook page produced much more of a response than I expected, the messages poured in from all over the world from people who he had never met, but who felt his loss as deeply as we ourselves did. I had several long email conversations with past customers and members of the online Tarot community during this time, and they became a great source of comfort for me, I was able to express, not only my great sense of loss, but also an enormous amount of pride that I wouldn't have been able to articulate in person.

It has not been an easy journey, but with the relaunch of the Malpertuis name, I hope to be able to still get his beautiful works to those who love them so dearly.

Thank you to you all for your kind words and continued support.

Joe Lovell
05Sep

The matchbox Lenormand is a brand new deck.

Beginning as side project to distract from other decks Neil had begun, the Matchbox, was originally an exercise in fun, drawing on the designs and graphic style of vintage eastern European matchboxes he had seen during his previous career.

The simple graphic style and limited colour palette made this an obvious starter project for me to begin to cut my teeth on. Having looked over several of Neil's projects, this deck was by far the easiest to continue. Several ideas had been formed for Tarot decks, and while the basic 'pip' cards create little problems from an artistic point of view (mostly as its these cards Neil produced first), the court cards prove much trickier, especially with no clear idea of the design ethos he was looking for. 

These cards represent my first true steps to continue the Malpertuis brand, finalising packaging and producing second editions are one thing, but to complete one of Neil's projects is an important step for me.

The design ideas and concepts aren't the issue, but matching Neil's exacting standards of design are proving a challenge, one that given more time and experience I hope to be able to live up to.

05Sep

I'm pleased to announce the return of the Chelsea Lenormand. After the mystery of the missing Heart on some of the Rider cards in the original, this seemed the perfect time to issue a second edition.

In a similar style to other reprints, this deck retains the same imagery and colour palette as the original, but the metal tin has been replaced with a more traditional box and lid. As much as I love those little tins, they were far too easily dented and damaged.

The deck still contains the booklet, detailing the history and meanings of Lenormand, along with a few examples spreads. This will be available as a PDF soon, as I'm well aware the font of the booklet is tiny! 

03Jan

Following on from the hugely successful reprint of the Tyldwick Tarot, it is now joined by its partner deck


I'm please to announce the launch of the Malpertuis Lenormand 2nd Edition.

The deck has under gone a similar re-work, as the Tyldwick, with minor colouring changes to the rear face of the card, making to the two decks much closer in finish, along with an alignment of the edge banding.

All the original artwork has been retained, with the card quality and finish now brought in line with the 2nd Edition Tyldwick deck, making these 2 decks the perfect partners fro each other.


I can't believe what a phenomenal response there has been to the launch of the 2nd edition. I knew there would be interest, but this has far exceeded my wildest dreams.

I would like to thank everyone who has ordered a copy and those who have sent messages of support. To all those who have placed an order, can I please ask for a little patience, I'm more than a little overwhelmed with the work load right now, but please rest assured all your orders are being processed and shipped. Trust me this is a lot of work for 1 person!!

Thank you!


Joe

23Apr

A long awaited tribute to Neil

With the phenomenal success of the original Tyldwick deck, it seemed the logical way to pay tribute to Neil. A deck that for many was his greatest masterpiece.

Although the packaging and edging may have changed, the magic and mystery of the original artwork has been retained.

There may seem to be only minor changes, but each one has been a hard fought battle with myself! I can safely say however, I'm over the moon with the result, and can only pray that Neil would be proud of the work I have done in his absence.


I have been inundated with messages about this deck since posting the last update, mostly asking questions about preorders and arrival times.

So I'll answer everything here.

Due to the fact that I only operate Malpertuis part time, I've made the decision not to offer preorders, but please rest assured there will be more than enough copies for all those that want one.

They will be available for purchase through the website once I have had an opportunity to examine the final quality and am satisfied that they meet the high standards set by Neil, and at the original price (£60).

25Mar

The new 2nd Edition of the Tyldwick is nearing completion.

The printing has been completed, the cards are currently under going a quality inspection before being cut, and having the edging added.

I should have a shipping date within the next week.

Not long to wait now!!

13Nov

I know some of you have requested a more easily readable format for the LWB which came supplied with the Legend of the Wizard Laird deck. The poker sized booklet being especially difficult to read due to the small font size. 

The PDF version has now been added to the site for you to download and enjoy in all its glory, without the need to strain your eyes! Sorry it took so long!!


Joe


After a small delay with customs, The Legend Of The Wizard Laird has arrived.

It has taken 2 years from Neil's passing to get here, but I'm sure everyone will agree once they see the deck in person that the wait was worth it.

The final deck that Neil finished himself, and possibly his best!!

Thank you everyone for your support.

10Sep

Firstly, I'm still getting several requests a week asking for any Tyldwick decks I have hidden somewhere, or if and when they will be reprinted. I have explained that the original deck was produced in a limited run of 2000 copies, any reprint would therefore go against that original concept. Those of you lucky enough to own one, will have paid a premium price for a limited deck, so after a lot of consideration and soul searching, here is the definitive and final answer!

The deck will be reprinted!

In order to make this possible, there will be some changes made. Don't panic, I'm not interfering with the card images themselves (even I realise that would be criminal). However, there will be a small change to the back of the card, I'll keep the original pattern, but just change. the colouring slightly, I always found the original a little too 'busy'. The tuck box will go, and the gold edging of the card will be altered too, although I'm still not sure of the exact colour, maybe a bit more brass than gold.

I have no time frame for this 2nd edition arrival, the box is causing me a few issues! Once these are resolved I'll post updates.


The good news just keeps coming today!

I'm so happy to announce that after a few small issues at the printers, the Wizard Laird is now fully printed. The 2 sizes are currently being packaged and prepared for shipping.this deck was completed by Neil before his sudden death, the only things. needing to be finished were the final touches to both the box, and booklet cover.

Although my input to this deck has been mostly insignificant, it is with a great sense of pride and achievement that soon I will be able to deliver one of his final ideas to the community who have been so supportive to me during this process.




17Jul

The Samples Have Arrived


After what seems like forever, with lockdowns and closures, things are slowly returning to the new 'normal'.

The preproduction decks arrived, and they are definitely worth the wait, the images are gorgeous. They look so much better in my hand than the images I've been looking at on my screen for so long!

I've got a few small issues to overcome with the LWB, but nothing serious, and I therefore hope to have the decks into full production in the next week or so. Unfortunately, it would seem that nothing about this project is destined to run smoothly, the delivery date will most likely coincide with my family holiday! So it may be into the middle of September before the first decks are ready to sent out.

I'm still waiting on the final shipping costs, and import fees, so at this time I'm unable to confirm the final retail prices fro the 2 different sizes, but I'm confident that they will be a similar cost to all other Malpertuis decks. 

I'm so excited for everyone to see them!


Joe

07Nov

Coming Soon

I'm sure most people reading this will be familiar with Neil's Legend of the Wizard Laird deck, this was his final project to be completed, at the time of his death he had just managed to secure a printer for the deck and was undergoing the final proofing process. Unfortunately, he shared some of his desires for this deck with his family, he neglected to share which printer he had chosen, so 12 months after his death the task fell to me to complete his final masterpiece - no small task.

Much as he himself struggled, as have I, there has been a very frustrating period of non-communication with several people, but I'm pleased to say that at long last I believe progress is being made. 

Once there is more information on a possible delivery date of these 2 decks, I will post details of the decks and costs.


Joe 


When I founded Malpertuis Designs in 2013 I decided to follow three key principles:

INDEPENDANCE

My founding principle is simple: to create beautiful objects which I'd myself wish to own. I don't design decks with an eye to the market, or base my designs around what I think might be most popular or most lucrative.

It's important to me that I'm able to produce decks as I'd like them to be without needing to make any compromises to satisfy third parties. That's why I design, publish and sell my decks independently.

IMAGINATION

While I respect and love the history of cards, I'm more interested in expanding and extending the possibilities than in sticking religiously to traditional images. In some respects my designs may nod (for example) to Rider-Waite or Dondorf, but in others they may divert considerably from the traditional images associated with these decks. I'm a designer - not a scholar or archivist - and imagination is much more important to me than 'authenticity'. I'm therefore happy to leave the pursuit of provenance or purity to others while I hopefully create something original and different.

INTEGRITY

There exist many examples of what can be called clone decks - modified versions of other artists' original work. This is especially true of Tarot decks, where 'authentic' or 'traditional' are frequently employed euphemisms for 'copied'. I don't intend to follow this route - I hope to create decks which are as attractive and original as possible, without stealing other designers' material or ideas.

I work primarily as a collagist. This involves gathering of images from many sources. I don't believe, however, that I have the right to incorporate other artists' original images and photographs into my work by using the '10% rule'. As far as possible, therefore, any images I use are my own original photographs or drawings, paid for images from stock libraries, or material which is already certified as existing in the public domain. In those rare instances where I identify material which isn't available for purchase, I either (a) recreate a new image as an original quantity by drawing or tracing or (b) modify the image to such an extent that it could no longer reasonably be identified against the original image.
I place the highest importance on quality - in terms of ensuring that both (a) card designs are as good as I can possibly make them and (b) the physical production of my decks is executed to as high a standard as possible.

Designing a deck (particularly a Tarot deck) can be an extremely long process: I can easily spend as much time on developing design ideas which don't make it into the final version of the deck as on those designs which actually do. It takes a while for a deck's overall personality to take shape: it's only once a deck is nearing completion that it's generally possible to look at each individual card design in order to reassess how it fits into the overall concept. I often reject many completed designs at this late stage - and , given the level of work that's often gone into them, this can be a difficult and painful procedure!

Getting decks printed can also take some time, since it's impossible to know exactly how a deck will look and feel until it's actually made. Printing on home printers - even in the highest quality - won't produce quite the same results as professional printers deliver. Cards which looked fine at home can look too dark or too bleached, details visible on screen might not render as expected, and at a more general level cards which previously seemed to work sometimes simply don't 'feel right' within the physical, printed deck. There can, therefore, be substantial proofing and re-proofing at this stage - i can go through many, many proofs before signing off the final run.

I insist on the highest paper quality, finish, and cutting precision for my decks and have devoted great efforts to sourcing specialist suppliers who can deliver the exact specifications I want. I genuinely believe the this makes a difference to the final produce.

I want my customers to be satisfied fully with their cards, and personally check all decks as thoroughly as possible before dispatch. On the (very) rare occasions when a flawed or faulty deck slips through the net I'm of course always willing to offer replacement deck or full refund.

Quality Process image

I designed my decks for customers who appreciate the exclusivity that comes limited editions, and I print relatively low number runs where the unit production costs are high. As such, I'm generally not in a position to offer large wholesale discounts to resellers. I have, however, been prepared in the past to make occasional exceptions for certain resellers who fit one or more of the following criteria:

  • specialising in the retail of limited edition decks/decks for collectors
  • in a market where receiving post from the UK may be difficult
  • polite and pleasant to work with

In these circumstances, I may be willing to negotiate wholesale discounts. The precise discount will be determined by deck type, price, and order size, but as an indication I would usually offer a discount of up to 20% on orders of more than £500.

For further information, please contact me, info@malpertuis.com 

  • Towcester, England, United Kingdom