{ feuilleton }


• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


New Austin Spare grimoires


The latest Starfire catalogue has news of the unearthing of two unfinished grimoires by Austin Osman Spare both of which are due for publication later this year. The two books—The Focus of Life & The Papyrus of Amen-AOS and The Arcana of AOS & the Consciousness of Kia-Ra—date from 1905–06 and I presume the picture from the catalogue shown above is from one of these. No details yet as to price of either volume. Via Arthur.

These two grimoires by Spare are at once enigmatic and full of haunting beauty. The paintings and drawings from each notebook are here reproduced in full colour. With analytical essays by Michael Staley, Stephen Pochin and William Wallace, and an introduction by Robert Ansell, this publication adds to our understanding of Spare’s early years as an artist, mystic and philosopher, and sheds light on the early development of his sigillisation techniques.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Austin Spare absinthe
Austin Spare’s Behind the Veil
Austin Osman Spare



Posted in {art}, {books}, {occult}.

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27 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Thombeau


    Fascinating. What an unexpected surprise!

  2. #2 posted by Nathalie


    Amazing. I hope we get to see more of this soon.

  3. #3 posted by Dave C


    Fantastic news! Hopefully we’ll see more artwork like the image above instead of the usual sketchbook doodles hyped up as a lost masterpiece.

  4. #4 posted by Evan J. Peterson


    Oh my. I wonder how much they’ll cost?

  5. #5 posted by Evan J. Peterson


    I just received an email from Starfire– no specific cost yet, but they mean to preserve the quality of the work, and estimate that it may cost 30-40 pounds.

  6. #6 posted by Mark Pilkington


    Hi John

    These grimoires are amazing and I’m very excited about the Starfire editions – I was lucky enough to see and handle the originals via their previous owner and can’t wait to get another look at the material.

    It’s going to be a bumper year for Spare, what with these and Phil Baker’s elegantly informative biography which will be published by us, Strange Attractor Press, in October. An exhibition will also be taking place at the Cumin Museum near Spare’s home on the Walworth Rd in South London.

    Hurrah for AOS!

  7. #7 posted by John


    Thanks for the info, Mark, really looking forward to the biography.

  8. #8 posted by Nick Hydra


    I recently got hold hold of a complete set of ‘Man, Myth and Magic’ which time permitting, I will be putting on Photobucket (don’t hold your breath though).

    I did notice something interesting in issue #84 – in a article written by Kenneth Grant he says that he once gave Spare a “volume of Lovecraft’s stories to read. It inspired him to illustrate the horror of these vast cosmic presences. He felt them pressing on his conciousness, almost paralyzing movement.”

    Does anyone know about these Spare/ Lovecraft illustrations?

  9. #9 posted by John


    The only one I know of with an explicit title (as opposed to vague “old ones” references) is Cthulhu Cultus: The Sun is Sick. See here. It appears in the Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare book in b&w and in colour in Zos Speaks!. It’s long fascinated me for being one of the first–if not the first–references to Cthulhu in art or illustration even though it doesn’t depict anything monstrous. I quoted Spare’s carved pillar when I came to draw the voodoo scene in my adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu in 1987.

  10. #10 posted by Nick Hydra


    I have scanned a couple of pages with Spare artwork from Man, Myth and Magic and put them on the (not that good) Spare Facebook page.

  11. #11 posted by John


    Hmm, either that url is broken or the page has vanished. FB says it can’t be found.

  12. #12 posted by Nick Hydra


    I think you have to cut and paste the whole line of text into your search engine. Can’t think why, but that seems to work.

  13. #13 posted by John


    Yeah, I tried pasting the whole thing (which isn’t showing in your comment there for some reason) but I still get an FB error page. This may be because I’m not–and never will be–a Facebook user. It’s also another good reason for keeping away from FB’s walled garden if you want a majority of people to see something.

    I’d recommend Imgur for sharing things publicly. Also, if you’re pasting a long url anywhere, you can avoid broken links by using TinyURL, Bit.ly, or a similar service.

  14. #14 posted by Nick Hydra


    OK; I’ve put them up in my photobucket account here:

  15. #15 posted by John


    Cool, thanks. Always feels strange now when I look at those since they were the first examples of his work I ever saw.

  16. #16 posted by Nick Hydra


    Me too, the B&W one is one of my favourites bits of art, and I’m always a little disapointed that the rest of his stuff falls a bit short of it.

  17. #17 posted by Nick Hydra


    See Alan Moore discussing AOS and the current exhibition on The Culture Show here:

  18. #19 posted by Nick Hydra


    As promised I’ve started scanning my collection of MM&M. I’ve up oaded Issue one to Flikr but it seems intent of putting the pages in the wrong order. Until I mcan sort that out there’s a link to the same images on Facebook

  19. #22 posted by John


    Nice, it’s about time someone got those online.






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