Cockney Visionary

CumingCatCoverThis lavishly illustrated publication accompanies the Austin Osman Spare exhibition held in 2010 at the Cuming Museum, London. This landmark book comprises:

An introduction by Robert Ansell
A cartographic study by Gavin W Semple
Biographical essay by Geraldine Beskin
Essays by the curators, Christopher Jordan and Stephen Pochin
Magical essay by Michael Staley
Detailed commentaries on the works in the collection by renowned AOS commentator Dr William Wallace

Sales of this publication helped to fund the exhibition. Both
editions feature a Patrons’ list – those who pre-ordered the deluxe edition. These early purchasers were eligible to attend a special patrons-only private view of the exhibition.

Deluxe Limited Edition

100 numbered copies, signed by all the authors
Quarter-bound in leather with moiréd silk sides
100 pages, 215 x 305mm
Exhibition leaflet and Patron list
Dust-jacket and slipcase
An exclusive presentation insert:
The Geometry of Theurgy by Dr William Wallace
DVD of documentary The Bones Go Last

P.O. Boxes are not suitable addresses as postage will be insured and a signature is required.
£160 (plus p&p)

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Standard Limited Edition

900 copies, hand numbered
100 pages, 215 x 305mm
Hardback cloth bound, with dust-jacket
DVD of documentary The Bones Go Last
Now mailing…
£60 (plus p&p)

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Both Editions (Combined postage)  cv_inside_lo CV_WW_lo

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Fallen Visionary

This landmark exhibition celebrates the work of Austin Osman Spare (1886–1956), who lived and worked in Southwark in the early twentieth century. His singular life and vision will be charted with numerous self-portraits and other diverse works, this Autumn at the Cuming

Museum, South London.

Emphasis and Local Resonance

Centring on one of the most extensive collections held by a public institution, that of Southwark Borough Council and the South London Gallery, this exhibition afforded a valuable cross-section of the obsessions and diverse styles of this South London artist and quintessential Cockney Visionary.

This exhibition offered a rare opportunity to assess the magnificent draughtsman and corrosive mysticism that marks Spare out as a unique poet of the visual in Modern British Art. It also drew upon a particular local resonance, as the artist lived in Southwark for most of his life. He had a studio almost opposite the Old Town Hall and Library. His debut exhibition was actually held in the library foyer in 1904. This is the same building that houses the Cuming Museum and, over a century later, this exhibition.

Key Works on Display

Key works held by the collection (such as Theurgy, seen right) were contextualised alongside works from several significant private collections. Stunning self-portraits, from every era of his life, conveyed the aspirations and subsequent ravages of a creative mind set adrift by the turbulence of two world wars.

It also brought together a few of his ‘local types’, a poignant study of Londoners who, not so long ago, roamed the streets of Southwark.

In this work we might intimate a direct lineage to the hawkers and rag-men familiar to Dickens. This represents just one rich strand of this fascinating, but still (remarkably) little known, London artist.

From the Vaults of Public Collections

This landmark exhibition heralded the first time that Spare’s work (in the collection of the South London Gallery and Southwark Borough Council) had been shown together. Important works from the Imperial War Museum were also be displayed. It is also the first retrospective of this artist by a public museum.

This important retrospective was co-curated by Christopher Jordan and Stephen Pochin, in conjunction with the Cuming Museum. It was part-funded by Jerusalem Press, publisher of the accompanying standard and limited edition monograph, and a generous private donation.

Documentary and Events

To accompany the exhibition, there were a series of fascinating talks by renowned speakers, private views and other activities. A specially commissioned documentary film, celebrating the artist and his work, was also premiered as part of these events. This film is available on DVD as part of the publication package.


The fully illustrated book is the inaugural publication of Jerusalem Press. It features essays by the curators and detailed commentaries of the works in the collection by Dr William Wallace, Spare commentator.