Visionary artist and magician Austin Osman Spare was born 130 years ago today. Fulgur Publishing’s site features this biographical sketch:
“Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956) is one of the most influential and innovative figures in twentieth century occultism. A natural artist and psychic, Spare’s explorations of the creative focus gave rise to an ontology and body of work that departs radically from conventional occultism, both then and now. Ahead of his time, he was dismissed by Crowley early in his career, but found appreciation and understanding with the next generation, who embraced his ideas with alacrity.
“A true Londoner, Spare was born in December 1886 near the Holborn Viaduct and spent most of his life no more than 10 miles from his place of birth. Living in the shadow of a burgeoning Smithfield Market, the family soon moved south of the river to Kennington, then a vibrant borough with music halls, taverns and a history of political and religious dissent. Spare’s formative years were spent at the school attached to the nearby Catholic church of St. Agnes, yet although many of his early drawings show us traditional religious themes, there is also evidence of interests in Eastern mysticism, Theosophy and Spiritualism. This latter movement was to become a key influence in the development of Spare’s ontology, especially the central role played by ‘automatism’ which came to form the basis of the artist’s modus operandi…
“The years between 1909 and 1913 were Spare’s golden era. He staged several West End exhibitions and enjoyed numerous commissions from private collectors and publishers. The period reached its apex in 1913 with the publication of Spare’s masterpiece, The Book of Pleasure. Inspired by his marriage to the actress Eily Gertrude Shaw in 1911 the book is now regarded as a classic in 20th century esoteric studies. Complex and obscure, Spare’s writing in The Book of Pleasure sketches out a vision of a magical process entirely devoid of ceremony and thus swept away all conventional notions of ritual praxis…”
copyright © Robert Ansell, 2007
Read the entire sketch here: https://fulgur.co.uk/artists-and-writers/austin-osman-spare/