The Rider-Waite deck, variously known as Rider-Waite-Smith, RWS, Waite-Smith,1 was illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith under the direction of Arthur Edward Waite, and published in 1909.
It is the first deck ever published with the minor suits illustrated for specific divinatory meanings. Most decks published and sold since then, with a few notable exceptions, owe some of their heritage to it. Many decks are simple re-illustrations of the Rider-Waite using various historic or fantasy themes.
1. Smith refers to Pamela Coleman Smith, the illustrator of the Rider-Waite deck. Waite refers to Arthur Edward Waite, the author of The Pictorial key to the Tarot, who hired Pamela Coleman Smith to illustrate his book and tarot deck. And Rider refers to the publisher W. Rider.