Spare: Old and New

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Some surprising and splendid items in the latest list from Caduceus Books

The list includes:

1) A New Book about Spare: Oswell Blakeston’s Austin Spare, Black Magician, published by IHO on 15th May 2007.

2) Some Spare Items from the Coil Collection
a) Two Magical Steles and an Original Spare Drawing
b) Books Containing Original Artwork by Spare

3) Two Other Original Spare Pictures
Ben Fernee
(Caduceus Books)
28 Darley Road
LE10 2RL
England, U.K.

Private premises, visitors welcome by appointment

Tel. 01455 250542 (+44 1455 250542 from abroad)
Fax. 0870 0552982 (+44 870 0552982 from abroad)


Austin Osman Spare

1) A New Book about Spare
2) Some Spare Items from the Coil Collection
a) Two Magical Steles and an Original Spare Drawing
b) Books Containing Original Artwork by Spare
3) Two Other Original Spare Pictures
4) Payment Methods


1) A New Book about Spare Published Today.

Oswell Blakeston, Austin Spare, Black Magician, IHO 15th May 2007 162pp Numbered limited edition of 125 copies of which 90 are for sale. Aside from conventional numbering each copy is also numbered by means of a bookplate featuring a reproduction of a vibrationary (ie showing the aura) portrait by Spare plus title, limitation and copy number. The book has a translucent dustwrapper with title and another vibrationary portrait printed on inside flap. Foreword and introductory notes by Clive Harper, the bibliographer of Spare. Blakeston met Spare in the early 1930’s. Spare painted an impressive portrait of him, a naturalistic profile is juxtaposed with astral flame from which faces and forms emerge. In 1933 Blakeston authored an article for Occult Review in which he sets out to faithfully reproduce the words of “one of the most remarkable man in London” who is “an initiate”. This is Spare and the article, here reproduced in 9pp is a striking and often overlooked account by the artist of the occult nature of his art, its symbolism and so forth. An important piece that should be read by any with an interest in the interpretation of Spare’s work. In 1950 Blakeston published a piece called “Magicians in London” in an anthology called “An Uncertain Element”. Here reproduced in 12pp it is primarily about Spare whom Blakeston refers to as “.. my best black magician”. An anecdotal account of Spare, his surprising familiar called Death Posture and his spell work to control the weather and use of the Surrealist Racing Forecast cards. In 1969 Blakeston published a novel called For Crying Out Shroud. Chapter 15, reproduced here has a fictional account of Spare describing various magical workings. The description is quite unflattering, the author having moved on from his previous idealisation. In 1936 Blakeston wrote an appreciation of Spare for an exhibition of his art, the full catalogue here reproduced including three photographs of Spare at the exhibition. Also reproduced is the 1955 Archer gallery catalogue which has an appreciation by Kenneth Grant, his first credited act of publication in the U.K.! Coloured images of twelve of the pictures exhibited at that show are reproduced. Blakeston also wrote a book about magic that was never publisher, here are reproduced three chapters one of which was published as a separate article. About a dozen coloured pictures by Spare are reproduced as are reproductions of the covers of books by Blakeston mentioning Spare and some postcards from Spare to Blakeston. There have been suggestions Spare should be regarded as an artist who was not a magician or a sorcerer. This new book – Austin Osman Spare; Black Magician and the Spare originals from the Coil collection described elsewhere are a timely reminder that Spare used his art to express psychic insights and for making magical spells. Moreover Spare presented and was seen as a magician and a sorcerer with familiars who would construct spells to assist his friends. In this Spare was a continuation into the 20th Century of the Cunning Men of earlier times. Of course he was an artist and autodidactic philosopher. As well, by any meaningful definition, he was also a sorcerer and magician. Order Ref BLAKESTON UK Pounds 35

Please note that if ordering this item alone postage will be as follows (in UK Pounds):-

UK 1.52
Airmail Europe 2.60
Airmail Rest of the World 4.66
Surface anywhere. 2.34

If no preference is stated I will post airmail


2) Some Items from the Coil Collection.

Spare was a major influence upon the work of the avant-garde rock group Coil. The band’s work was halted by the accidental death of John Balance in November 2004. The band acquired one of the most important collections of the artist’s work. The collection will be exhibited for about two weeks at a gallery in Bond Street, London, towards the end of this year. As these items are clearly important components of the collection and the corpus of Spare’s work they are offered on the clear understanding that any purchaser will make them available for the exhibition. A catalogue will be produced which may include illustrations of these works.

Background information about Coil and its members can be found at:-

Images of these items can be found at:-

a) Two Magical Steles and an Original Spare Drawing

Images of the items described here can be found at:-

Original Pencil Drawing on Wood 28ins x 17ins, Initialled A.O.S. and dated 1953 in what appears to be the original frame. On reverse in pencil is inscribed “No. 12” which may well indicate that it was exhibit number 12 in the an exhibition held at the end of 1953 at the White Bear pub in Lambeth (one of the less posh areas of London – Spare exhibited his work in rooms above pubs with no compromise to popular culture aside from touching humanistic portraits of the people around him). If this is the case it is titled “Fumambulatory Ecstasy”. A tightrope walker is a fumambulist and this probably refers to the “Neither – Neither” state. In Agape 1975 Ramsey Dukes described this as “… a thought process by which Spare endeavors to break through the limitations of dualistic thought in four steps. We start by considering any quality, for example ‘light’. Duality immediately links that to the opposing quality ‘dark’. The next step is to consider the combination of these two qualities – as in ‘dusk’ – and then we attempt to make the next step and meditate upon the absence of those two qualities – the ‘Neither-Neither’ as opposed to the ‘Both-And.’ Two of the figures are Janus-faced perhaps expressing the Neither – Neither state. One appears to be a horned hermaphrodite perhaps his lust is generating the female figures and the faces that lurk in the surround swirling lines. It is strongly reminiscent of Spare’s portrayal of witches and the witches Sabbat, it would seem for Spare the Sabbat was a mindspace that could be glimpsed. This is in accord with some working the modern tradition of Sabbatic craft and also, ironically some medieval inquisitors who thought the accounts of sabbats to be delusional, but delusions born of the devil! Please note that, because of the subtle contrasts of pencil on wood and being glazed this item is particularly difficult to photograph, images rarely do originals justice and this is particularly so in this case. Order Ref. COIL 1 UK Pounds 3500

Magical Stélé, Protection From Evil by Psycho-somatic Strength, 16ins x 10ins, ink, pencil, pastel and watercolour on plywood 1955. Signed and titled by way of original label retained by previous owner Frank Letchford and affixed to his label on revere of the item His label adds a further spell to the item “Protection from headaches – to which I was subject – and for a healthy happy married life”. The original label carries the number 66 confirming it to be the stélé exhibited in the 1955 Archer Gallery exhibition where it was carried the variant intent “Desire for Psycho-somatic Strength. It appears probable that when Frank Letchford acquired the stele from Spare the artist added the additional intent mentioned by Letchford in association with the personalisation of the Stele to the recipient by incorporating his initials into the design. Gavin Semple’s Study for a Portrait of Frank Letchford published by Fulgur in 1998 informs us that Letchford purchased the item prior to the exhibition but then lent if back to Spare so the exhibition would be complete. He also tells us that only ten stele are known to have been made by Spare. The stele features Isis holding her sistrum, Aztec God forms (a pantheon Spare used on other occasions for his magical work). Praying Eyes of Horus, sigils and numerous characters from Spare’s Alphabet of Desire. Fine condition. Order Ref. Coil 2 UK Pounds 4850

Magical Stélé, 14ins x 9ins, ink, pencil and watercolour on plywood 1953 Created by Austin Osman Spare for Frank Letchford who has attached a label to the reverse stating “A Stele (after the little tombstones designed by the Ancient Greeks for their friends) by AUSTIN OSMAN SPARE (1886 – 1956) for his friend Frank W. Letchford at the time of marriage to Joyce Turner in 1953 – for their future good health and happiness. Sigils formed from the initials of my name and that of Spare and Joyce as Isis the Mother-Goddess. Spare self-portrait lower right…. But to remember that it is false to sell whilst Frank and Joyce They do live still; bad luck has befallen those who sell their own stele in their own lifetime” It will be noted that it has close similarities in design with the stele above Very slight warping top the boards otherwise Fine condition. Order Ref. Coil 3 UK Pounds 4250


b) Books Hand Decorated by Spare

Clifford Bax, Ideas and People, Lovat Dickson 1936 1st Ed. 296pp Plates including frontispiece of the author. Has 13pp chapter “Sex in Art” of which 6pp discuss Spare with some delightful anecdotes, It is illustrated with a striking plate of a younger Spare next to a chalice adopting the Horned God posture devised by Aleister Crowley. Bax and Spare co-edited the Golden Hind together. It would appear that Spare was delighted with the references to him as he has richly embellished this copy for his friend with hand drawn faces and vignettes in coloured pen and watercolour, many with a coloured border reminiscent of Spare’s “vibrationary” portraits portraying the subjects aura. The front cover has a pen drawing of Bax with his name written incorporated into the looping lines. The front pastedown has a coloured pen and watercolour satyrised portrait of Bax captioned “Clifford Bax Ex-libris”. On the obverse of the front free endpaper a horned self portrait in coloured ink and watercolour is titled “A.O.S. ex-libris”. The reverse of the front free endpaper appears to be a smaller stylised self portrait whilst the pre-title carries a larger head, perhaps a stylised portrait of Bax. The reverse of the pre-title carries a abstract vignette whilst the reverse of the frontispiece has a delightful image of Bax, his hair rising like flame. The title page has a vignette of Bax and its reverse has a face emerging from abstract loops which incorporate Spare’s initials. The facing page has two vignettes, one a head the other faces emerging from abstract loops. The next page a vignette and a finely drawn head. The reverse of the contents pages has a finely drawn head, the following page an abstract vignette. The following page has a finely drawn image of two heads incorporating Spare’s name and then follows an abstract vignette. At the back of the book are three abstract vignettes with suggestion of faces emerging from the looping lines. The front hinge is loose and there is some general wear to the covers, overall Good sound condition. Two newspaper cuttings, one a review of the book mentioning that Spare has an exhibition near the Elephant and Castle whilst the other mentions Bax. A striking and important artefact of the friendship of Bax and Spare. Order Ref. Coil 4 UK Pounds 1850

A.M. Ludovici, Enemies of Women, Carroll & Nicholson 1948 1st Ed. 222pp Frontispiece plate of the author. The preliminaries of this book are much annotated by Spare, these annotations are remarkable and important as they are signed seven times by Spare giving six different forms for his signature some having important implications for the persona bearing witness. The different forms of the signature present are:-
1)Austin Osman Spare
2) Austin O. Spare
3) A.O.S. (twice)
4) Zos (his magical persona)
5) The Alphabet of Desire glyph for the phallus and testacies which, seen in juxtaposition here, clearly determines the name Zos
6) A complex sigil which combines the name A.O.S. (using lower case Omega for ‘O’) and Zos. The inscriptions accrued over a number of years, being separately dated 1953, 1954 and 1955. The consist of a line drawing with vibratory border of Ludovici, the author of the book probably taken from the frontispiece. There is a line drawing titled “Portrait of a sexually starved female” and one inscription states that members of the feminist movement to be sexual failures or sexually sub-normal and not worth going to be with. This may accord with the text of the book, Ludovici being a reactionary political commentator. Spare knew Sylvia Pankhurst well, his sister acted as her secretary and they were neighbours. One wonders what may have happened to make Spare so bitter! There is also an aphorism concerning the nature of belief signed Zos and a line drawing of a naked woman. Overleaf is a full page spell titled “Formula to change a cold woman into a nympth” It includes an invocation “O Isis! Be thou the union hibitor of this good thing”. Presumably “hibitor” being Sparean for the opposite to “inhibitor”. The female figure portrayed in pencil has wings for arms and is accompanied by glyphs from the Alphabet of Desire (indeed her body forms some of the devices) plus sigils and the suggestion of different planes sometimes found in his magical stele.
Front pastedown has tipped in fragments of paper bearing Spare’s initials and Zos sigilised with accompanying inscription “Ex-libris & sigil”, Spares signature and the date 1954. It is again signed and dated 1955. There is a pen drawing of Ludovici with vibrationary borders apparently added later. The book has some where to the covers but is in Good sound condition Order Ref COIL 5 UK Pounds 975

Austin Osman Spare, Anathema of Zos, The Sermon to the Hypocrites, Self published 1927 1st Edition. Large format 12ins x 9ins 21pp Limited to 100 copies this copy being number 6 signed by Spare. It was announced that 50 copies would be issued hardbound in vellum with an original vibrationary portrait tipped in whilst the remaining 50 would be issued in card wraps. Rob Ansell in the Select Bibliography to Zos Speaks suggests that the vellum bound copies were far scarcer than this and not all had the original drawing. This copy is bound in full vellum and has not one but two original drawings tipped in. One enmeshes two forms of Spares signature in decorative calligraphic loops and a vibrationary portrait possibly showing Grace Rogers who assisted him with the publication. The other is a striking profile initialled by Spare. Whilst most copies were bound in card wraps this copy was issued hardbound with full vellum. Effectively the book is therefore signed four times by Spare. The boards a slightly warped outwards and there is slight discolouration to the covers. However overall a Good + sound clean copy. Order Ref. COIL 6 UK Pounds 2400


3) Two Other Original Spare Works

Images of the items described here can be found at:-

Faunesque, It is pencil and watercolour and is 14.5ins x 8.5ins Dated 1947 and has an exhibition number, Number 20, which was given to it when it was shown at the 1949 Temple Bar exhibition, the catalogue of which carried an anonymous appreciation by Kenneth Grant.. Classic Spare having a satyrised sidereal portrait with haunting masks manifesting from energy swirls in the background. It was reframed some years ago but the original back board has been retained carrying date, Spare’s signature, the title plus the exhibition number. “Sidereal”, the term used by Spare for such elongated portraits that have to be viewed at an extreme angle for the features to fall into place, no doubt had layers of meaning for him. Originally meaning “of the stars” in the Early Modern period it was used mean astral as in astral spirits. It would have also been a play of surreal as in beSIDE REALity Order Ref. FAUNESQUE UK Pounds 2750

Untitled, Pencil and watercolour wash, 15ins x 9.5ins, modern glazed frame. Signed by Spare and dated 1931. (Some reflection from the glass in this image) The provenance of this item is that it belonged to John Balance who sold it to the artist/musician Carl Abrahamsson (see ) as well as being editor of the very good Fenris Wolf published by Psychic Release in the early 1990s (not to be confused with other publications of that title). It was acquired by the present owner from Abrahamsson. Please note the image shows reflections from the glass protecting the picture. Order Ref. SPARE1 UK Pounds 1250


4) Payment Methods

Please note a useful guide to exchange rates can be found at:-

Payment can be made in any of the following ways:-

1) Payment through PayPal at, my user names are my email address:- or

2) Credit card (Mastercard, Access or Visa) or Debit Card (Switch or Solo). Please note that I do also need the security code (the three digits on the reverse of the card) and the address to which the card is registered. For security reasons some people like to send their number in the following ways:–
a) by fax
b) telephone (there is an answering machine to which only I have access when I am not here)
c) divide it into two and send it in two separate email messages. For extra security one can be sent to and the other to my secondary email address
d) encode it. I would suggest leaving the first four digits unchanged but for the remaining digits and security code add 3 to each digit (ie 1 becomes 4, 7 becomes 0, 9 becomes 2 etc) leaving the expiry date unchanged. This arrangement can be referred to as “YOUR CODE”
e) spell some of the numbers out eg 44six8 etc

3) International Money Order made out in British Currency

4) Foreign cash small amounts please send securely, large amounts please send by registered post.

5) Direct transfer to my bank from a bank in your country. My bank details as follows:-

Account Title:- B.P. Fernee,
Bank:- Co-operative Bank, 1 Balloon Street, Manchester, M60 4EP.
Branch Identification Code (or Swift Code):- CPBKGB22
International Bank Account Number (I.B.A.N.):-
Sort code (or Routing Number):- 08 92 49
Account number:- 03217502

6) Cheque in British currency made out to B.P. Fernee

7) Postal Orders made out to B.P. Fernee in UK currency only

8) International Money Order or Bankers Draft payable to B.P. Fernee in UK Pounds

9) Western Union Money transfer made payable to Benjamin Petroc Fernee

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