Malpertuis

Extraordinary Collections

About Malpertuis



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

News


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 


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Company Principles


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.

Quality Process


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

Resellers & Wholesale


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.

It is in this spirit I would like to direct all North American customers to contact https://www.collectarot.com, they have been a wholesale customer for some time, and by purchasing/importing larger quantities can save individual customer on the relatively prohibitive shipping costs of a single deck.

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

Contact


  • Towcester, England, United Kingdom