The Catalpa Monographs by Austin Osman Spare scholar William Wallace

Jerusalem Press has announced a greatly revised, expanded, and combined edition of William Wallace’s long out-of-print books The Early Work of Austin Osman Spare, 1900–1919 (Stroud: Catalpa Press, 1987) and The Later Work of Austin Osman Spare, 1917–1956 (Stroud: Catalpa Press, 1989), to be published in April in both a standard hardback edition of 900 copies and a limited deluxe edition of 100 copies.  From the publisher’s website:

The Catalpa Monographs by Dr William Wallace
Critical Survey of the Art and Writings of Austin Osman Spare

Featuring 50 unpublished artworks by Spare and expands upon the books first publishing in the 1980s. The author returns to his earliest writing as the basis for a newly updated inquiry into the volatile essences of Spare’s art. This is a substantial and thought-provoking book by the most prolific contributor to Sparean scholarship.

Comprising a revised and much expanded republication of the long out of print books ‘The Early…’ and ‘The Late works of Austin Osman Spare’, it also includes 20 very early ink drawings from a recently discovered private collection. An extensive new introduction analyzes the themes and obsessions in Spare’s art, including palimpsests and Realism.

Decades of fastidious research have yielded many insights and revelations which are now elucidated with many references to surprising source imagery. By immersing himself in Spare’s creative impetus Wallace has explored not only occult texts and alchemical art, but has also found a rich vein of reference and allusion to the biblical texts, and the art of Blake, Hogarth and Shakespeare.

Crucially the reader is now furnished with the solutions to several iconographical enigmas; there is an in-depth examination the Mrs Paterson myth, ‘Black Eagle’, and the first convincing decoding of  the ‘L.C.O’C.S’ dedication of The Focus of Life.

Dr Wallace also comments on an unpublished early political cartoon of Chamberlain, as well as reproducing correspondence between Kenneth Grant, and an affectionate memoir of Frank Letchford.

The Foreword is provided by Michael Staley; the Afterword by Stephen Pochin, who examines Spare’s life-long appropriation of artistic motifs, from Egyptian to G.F. Watts, to Rodin and George Tinworth.

This vital new addition to Sparean scholarship confirms he remains at the top of his game.

Pre-orders are invited now with publication due in April.
Hardback Deluxe Edition
strict limitation of 100 copies (1 per order)
300 pages, 156×234 mm. Litho printed, Sewn, marbled endpapers, tailbands, foil blocked and quarter bound in leather, slipcase, dustjacket, three colour-plate sections, and over 100 black and white images in the text.  Special inserts: original signed pencil drawing by the author, and facsimile AOS tavern exhibition invite.
£150.00 plus p&p
Hardback Standard Edition
900 numbered copies
300 pages, 156×234 mm. Litho printed, Sewn, coloured endpapers, dustjacket three colour-plate sections, and over 100 black and white images in the text.
£30.00 plus p&p
US orders of standard edition fulfilled by J.D.Holmes after publication.

Book launch and exhibition details to follow.


Richard Kaczynski

Richard Kaczynski is the author of the biography Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (2002; rev exp ed 2010), the history Forgotten Templars: The Untold Origins of Ordo Templi Orientis (2012), the novel The Billionth Monkey (2015), Panic in Detroit: The Magician and the Motor City (2019), along with a bunch of other books, articles, and chapters that you can read about at his website,

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