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Book Launch: Lost Envoy – The Tarot Deck of Austin Osman Spare

Wednesday 11 May, 7.00 – 9.00pm / free 

Launching Lost Envoy, a new book edited by artist Jonathan Allen, which brings into public view the recently discovered hand-painted tarot cards by English artist and mystic Austin Osman Spare. This book launch is accompanied by a series of talks throughout the evening and a showcase of the cards in the Artists’ Studio until Sunday 15 May.


Lost Envoy – The Tarot Deck of Austin Osman Spare


In the Spring of 2013 a 79-card, hand-painted tarot deck created c.1906 by the mystic and artist Austin Osman Spare, was identified within the collections of The Magic Circle Museum in London.

Austin Spare’s life-long interest in cartomancy is well documented, yet very few of his own fortune-telling cards were thought to have survived. This compelling new example of the artist’s early work demonstrates his precocious involvement with the currents that shaped the British Occult Revival at the beginning of 20th century, and his interactions with some of the period’s lesser-known protagonists.

Magic Circle Museum curator and artist Jonathan Allen immediately recognised that Spare’s cards were not only art-historically significant, but also entirely unknown outside of The Magic Circle’s collections, and set about tracing the deck’s provenance, its place in the artist’s oeuvre and within the wider histories of cartomancy.

Lost Envoy reproduces Austin Spare’s tarot deck in its entirety for the first time, alongside new written and visual contributions from Jonathan Allen, Phil Baker, Helen Farley, Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill, Sally O’Reilly and Gavin Semple.

The book is designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio, with a cover incorporating the vibrant back colours of Spare’s cards, a period binding common to many of the volumes found in The Magic Circle library and, on the special edition cover, a gold deboss of the artist’s autographic ‘bird-head’ motif, as discovered within the deck itself.


Ed. Jonathan Allen
336pp pages, hardback, 233mm x 174mm
Fully illustrated in colour, with over 200 images.

• Standard edition
£30, inc. UK p&p (EU £35, ROW £40).

Payment via Paypal or £UK cheque made out to Strange Attractor Press and sent to BM SAP, London WC1N 3XX.

Please note that Lost Envoy will only be available direct from the publisher, and a very select number of bookshops.

Available May 2016.

A number of pages from Lost Envoy can be seen on the web site:



Event Link

Book Launch: Lost Envoy – The Tarot Deck of Austin Osman Spare
11 May 2016

Camden Arts Centre
Arkwright Road
London NW3 6DG

This event does not require a ticket.