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Apocalypse in England: A Critical Study of Frederick Carter by Richard Grenville Clark

Monographs on forgotten artists are important things, and in an increasingly mainstream world they are becoming too rare. It is valuable to rescue seemingly minor artists, especially when they are as good – and, in various ways, as revealing of their era – as Frederick Carter.” – Phil Baker’s Introduction

Finally the life-story of a neglected and fascinating artist who mixed with key figures of the British Occult and Decadent milieu can be told…

Up until now the mystical quester Frederick Carter has been merely a footnote in other biographies, notably those of Austin Osman Spare and Arthur Machen who he knew and worked with. Carter’s oeuvre was formed by a plurality of influences and interactions extending to the occult, philosophy, and religion. Now he moves centre-stage to have his story told and his achievements accessed.

With unprecedented access to the artist/writer’s rich personal archive of diaries, memoirs, sketchbooks, and artworks, the author guides us on a picaresque journey from Carter’s beginnings in Yorkshire, through the ateliers and red-light district of Paris with Holbrook Jackson and George Raffalovich, to the esoteric London circles of Bohemian artists, writers, publishers and intellectuals.

This book is unique in providing many colourful firsthand close-up encounters with charismatic figures previously known from afar. Notably, a dinner party with Crowley which ends in a venomous spat between the Beast and his jilted lover. A visit to Spare to meet W.H. Davies. A drug-experiment with Raffalovich and Carter’s life-model girlfriend…

Carter is witness and perceptive accomplish as he works with Spare on Form magazine and develops the manifesto for Automatic Drawing. He also became part of the Redondan clique, and mixed with W.B. Yeats, D.H. Lawrence, John Gawsworth, Thomas Burke, and Henry Miller. His range was truly polymathic and his long, uneven career forced him to engage with many of the major events of the early twentieth century, its characteristic problems, his place in Bohemia, its artists and intellectuals.

Richly-illustrated throughout with unpublished examples of Carter’s exquisite line-drawings, etchings of London, and mystical woodcuts. Alongside character portraits of Wyndham Lewis, Machen, Lawrence are set his portrait studies of them.

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