Self Portrait by Austin Osman Spare

Austin Osman Spare, the fourth of the five children of Philip Newton Spare, a policeman, and his wife, Eliza Ann Osman, was born London on the Dec. 30, 1886. He left his elementary school in Smithfield at 13 but had some formal tuition at the Lambeth School of Art and the Royal College of Art and before exhibiting at the Royal Academy at the age of 16. This created some interest in his work and in an interview in The Daily Chronicle he told the reporter that he was interested in inventing his own religion.

Spare became a close friend of Sylvia Pankhurst. He left art college in 1905 without completing the course. The same year, now 18, he published his first book, Earth: Inferno. His first exhibition was at the Bruton Galleries in 1907. It was widely attacked by the critics and George Bernard Shaw suggested that "Spare's medicine is too strong for the average man". His biographer, Phil Baker, claimed that his work was influenced by...
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