Artist and Illustrator

Austin Osman Spare's Grave

Added on by Jeff Harrison.

A chance meeting with an old acquaintance on a social media site a few years ago lead to a rather wonderful discovery. My friend and I were doing the causal catch-up with each others' lives when the topic of conversation inevitably got round to where each of us was living. After I told my friend that I was currently domiciled in Ilford, east-London, I was thrilled to be informed by her that the final resting place of one of my all time favourite artists and occultists, Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956), was in St Mary's Church Ilford, a mere stones throw from my house. This came as a complete shock for I had been living there and the surrounding area for most of my life, and was completely oblivious to this remarkable fact. It seems that even amongst AOS's enthusiast and devotees the precise location had been somewhat of a mystery.

After several fruitless searches trying to locate AOS's grave in St Mary's, I finally managed to track it down with the help of my friend and Austin Osman Spare expert, Chris Chibnall.  Austin died in poverty and obscurity in 1957 and was buried with his parents in their rather modest grave. As you can see from the below video clip that I took the grave has no headstone and Austin's name is absent from the epitaph. Only that of his father, Philip Newton Spare (1857-1928), and mother Eliza Ann Adelaide (1860-1939) are present - along with an accompanying quote taken from a hymn by the poet and hymn writer, Charlotte Elliot (1789-1872); "Just as I am, without one plea".