Category Archives: Austin Osman Spare

Austin Osman Spare

Writings and illustrations of a controversial genius outsider artist and visionary esoteric philosopher, including automatic writing, automatic drawing and sigilization techniques

Grant Morrison’s Disinformation Con Lecture

You’ve probably already seen this before, but I was reminded of this today; and thought I’d post it here. This is Grant Morrison talking about his own work, including The Invisibles, and magick, with mentions of sigils and Austin Osman Spare and more.


This is the entirety of Grant’s legendary 2000 lecture about Chaos Magick, comics, the occult, money and other topics.

Two Grimoires

You may be interested in Two Grimoires [also] which is coming from Starfire Publishing, and available for pre-ordering in the US through J D Holmes.

“This long-awaited title will at last be published in September 2011, and is now available for ordering ahead of publication.

Two Grimoires is a sumptuous, sewn hardbound book, Octavo format, 156 pages, with a full colour dustjacket, and limited to 1000 copies. Included is a 48 page section of colour plates, a colour frontispiece, and a black and white endpiece. The core of the book is the publication for the first time of two elaborate book dummies by Spare which he produced during the years 1905 and 1906. Each consists of more than twenty finely-drawn pen, ink and watercolour images, in some cases accompanied by brief captions. Internal evidence suggests that they were intended for publication, but were never completed. Their publication here is accompanied by two finished pictures by Spare from the same period, incorporating elements from the grimoires. Accompanying the grimoires are an Introduction by Michael Staley and two illustrated essays of commentary and preliminary analysis by William Wallace and Stephen Pochin.”


“The first of these grimoires, entitled The Focus of Life & The Papyrus of Amen-AOS, is dated 1905-6. Much of the lettering remains in pencil, some of it giving clues to the underlying meaning of the imagery. An important element of this grimoire is that it features an early form of the ‘exteriorisation of sensation’ which Spare subsequently developed into the Sacred Alphabet which is a feature of The Book of Pleasure.

The second, slightly later notebook is The Arcana of AOS & the Consciousness of Kia-Ra, dated 1906. This is in some ways the more finished of the two notebooks, and picks up some of the imagery from the earlier notebook as well as adding some new elements.”

Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London’s Lost Artist

I don’t remember if I’d mentioned this before or not, but I was reminded about this volume recently which you may also have interest in checking out. I think I posted about this to the Fb page when there was a bunch of news about Austin Osman Spare a while back, but anyhow, it’s worth mentioning.

Phil Baker’s Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London’s Lost Artist, with an introduction by Alan Moore, is available from Strange Attractor.

“London has harboured many curious characters, but few more curious than the artist and visionary Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956).

A controversial enfant terrible of the Edwardian art world, the young Spare was hailed as a genius and a new Aubrey Beardsley, while George Bernard Shaw reportedly said ‘Spare’s medicine is too strong for the average man.’

But Spare was never made for worldly success and he went underground, falling out of the gallery system to live in poverty and obscurity south of the river. Absorbed in occultism and sorcery, voyaging into inner dimensions and surrounding himself with cats and familiar spirits, he continued to produce extraordinary art while developing a magical philosophy of pleasure, obsession, and the subjective nature of reality.

Today Spare is both forgotten and famous, a cult figure whose modest life has been much mythologised since his death. This groundbreaking biographical study offers wide-ranging insights into Spare’s art, mind and world, reconnecting him with the art history that ignored him and exploring his parallel London; a bygone place of pub pianists, wealthy alchemists and monstrous owls.

This richly readable and illuminating biography takes us deep into the strange inner world that this most enigmatic of artists inhabited, shedding new light while allowing just a few shadowy corners to flourish unspoiled.”

You may also be interested in reading the review of the book by Phil Hine.

Of course, there’s also the Austin Osman Spare section at the library, which you may want to check out as well.

“One would hope that if [Zos Kia Cultus] is anything, it exists in that moment of contact between Spare’s work and the individual’s mind, open to its subversive influence; and then in the fruit of that communion, an inspiration and a creative response. The moment remains – the transmission continues.” An Interview with Gavin SempleAustin Osman Spare