Lost Envoy Book launch | Camden Arts Centre | May 2016

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This performance event and exhibition celebrated the launch of 'Lost Envoy', a new book edited by Jonathan Allen, which brings into public view the recently discovered tarot cards hand-painted by English artist and mystic Austin Osman Spare. The book launch included talks by Jonathan Allen and Phil Baker, and the performance 'Which Paterson?' by artist Marcia Farquhar.

Shown publicly for the first time in their history in the Artists' Studio at Camden Arts Centre, Spare's forgotten deck of 79 cards were constructed by the artist c.1906. Recovered by Jonathan Allen from the archives of The Magic Circle Museum in London, the cards predate the well-known Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck. Spare's experimental deck is highly unusual for combining playing card cartomancy and tarot cartomancy, and for the presence of images and texts that bridge the unfixed region between cards when two or more are placed alongside one another.

The cards were exhibited alongside archive material relating to Austin Osman Spare, The Magic Circle Museum, and the cultural history of cartomancy

Supported by Arts Council England, the Arts & Humanities Reseach Council, the Contemporary Art Research Centre at Kingston University and The Magic Circle.

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