Friday, June 16, 2006

Augustus John and The Great Beast

Augustus John and Aleister Crowley - what a pair of old reprobates. Unsurprisingly they were occasional drinking cronies in Fitzrovia. Apparently John used to enjoy a pint of bitter - an unlikely tipple for the King of Bohemia.

Anyway, Augustus John sketched the occultist several times. Crowley repayed the favour by including a disguised portrait of John in his book The Diary of a Drug Fiend (1922) (he's Owen the Welsh sculptor by the way). It's not an entirely flattering depiction - but then Crowley wasn't known as 'The Wickedest Man in the World' and 'The Great Beast' for nothing!

Augustus John completed the above portrait circa 1945, a couple of years before Crowley's death.