Learning by Austin Osman Spare

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It is with great pleasure we announce the release of Learning by Austin Osman Spare, a miniature, hand bound edition of 33 numbered copies. This title was first offered to subscribers of our mailing list, many of whom have supported Hadean Press since our inception in 2008.

Some time ago, we were offered the opportunity to turn a fragment of Spare's text into a little book. We intended to release this title before we moved to France, but the inevitable delays happened and once we arrived at our new home, we became increasingly distracted by the restoration of that home. The books were completed in 2011, the matching slipcases in 2012, and now finally we are able to offer the last few remaining copies to the public.

Learning by Austin Osman Spare
Learning by Austin Osman Spare

Erzebet specialises in miniature editions. The challenge with this edition was to turn one A4 sheet of text into a substantial little book. We went through nine prototypes in total before deciding on the final version shown here. The book is bound following the technique of the 4th century Nag Hammadi Codices, with a single signature and reversed leather (faux leather in this case) hinges for the spine. Some modifications were made to the technique in order to strengthen the book, such as the addition of material to bulk out the head and tail of the spine.

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The text itself was transcribed from the original by the owner of the fragment, but when it comes to Spare's work, text is not enough. We used the original sheet as the background on the pages of this book, and a sigil Spare had drawn in the margins on the endleaves.

Learning by Austin Osman Spare
Learning by Austin Osman Spare

Erzebet has long been an admirer of Spare's work, so it was a great privilege for her to work with this fragment of his writing. We hope we have done his work justice with this miniature book.

This text has been transcribed from a sheet of fragmenta and sigils acquired by the present owner at Sotheby’s, London in November 1997. The auction house described the sheet as “circa 1952”.

This is a handbound miniature, limited and numbered edition of 33 copies. The book measures approximately 94mm wide by 44mm high. The owner of the sheet graciously gave us permission to turn it into a little book. This is the result.

The text is printed on handmade Akbar natural paper with a weight of 115gsm. Spare's handwritten text is revealed in the background, and on the endleaves appears a sigil he drew in the margin. This is a simple, single signature binding with a reversed book cloth hinge, a hard, textured cover and faux leather spine. The book comes in a matching slipcase.