An invaluable memoir by one of the few remaining people still alive that knew Austin Osman Spare.
The author is an artist who as a teenager was nurtured and taken to life-classes by Spare and his sister Nellie. Gary is blind, but the memories are sharp and evocative. Spare, it transpires, set Gary upon his varied career in Art & Design.
As a corrective to a mythologising tendency, as he sees it, Gary paints a much needed ‘tactile picture’ of Austin Osman Spare, as someone who is more than the ‘Occult artist’ that many readers will be familiar with.
Here we are introduced to the selfless ‘humanist’, a generous soul encouraging raw talent without any concern for personal gain. Spare is revealed as a life-long instructor on art, a natural mentor who relished nurturing the creative potential of others. Not a recluse, but part of a like-minded group that included Frank Brangwyn, Walter E. Spradbery and Haydn Mackey, who all remained in contact long after WWI.