I Love Tarot!
COURT DE GEBELIN* influenced a number of late 19th century occultists in France and England who saw tarot as a book of secrets. Some of these were members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (GD), four of whom left us great modern decks still widely used today:
A E Waite and Pamela Colman Smith created the Rider Waite Tarot, which is now also known as Rider Waite Smith to acknowledge the illustrator. The deck was published in 1910 and the 'Rider' part of its title refers to the original publisher. Hundreds of decks have been based upon the 'RWS', and it is probably the best one with which to start exploring tarot. It was the first since the 15th century Sola Busca deck to show images on the Minor Arcana. The Tarot Basics illustrations show this deck.
BASIC TAROT HISTORY (later)
* 'Geb' has an acute accent (line sloping up above the 'e'), omitted here as symbols change in different browsers.
Aleister Crowley asked another GD member, Lady Frieda Harris, to paint The Thoth Tarot, working on it between 1938 and 1943, though it was not published until 1969. This deck keeps to the older tradition of pips / suit patterns, rather than scenes, on the numbered cards of the suits. These Minor Arcana cards, though, are still very beautiful, with fantastic designs. The Thoth deck has become an immensely influential one within esoteric circles.
There is a lot of information about Tarot History on the internet - this includes information on the various early Italian decks and the 19th century esotericists, as well as hundreds of modern decks. So, if this has whet your appetite, enjoy further exploration!