Rarest edition made with lidded slipcase, chemise, and additional talisman. The lidded slipcases with chemise were the most deluxe issues available; very few lidded slipcases were made. The lidded slipcases and chemise cost almost as much as the book did on publication, and few very people opted for the extra time and expense to have them made. Numbered limited edition of 100 copies (10ins x 8ins) 33pp full colour plates reproducing Hockley’s lavishly illustrated manuscript. 37pp text by Dan Harms gives a brief Introduction, full transcript. Book is in near fine condition in like slipcase.
In the work Hockley collects a number of rituals, giving some a powerful visual form, akin to a Mandala. In the final ritual, a perilous invocation of Oberion, he records the appearance of the spirit in a grotesque form reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s the Scream. This shows Hockley to be an occult artist of a status hitherto unrealised in publications of his work. One wonders if the references to the ritual use of cannabis and opium in Experimentum signal tools that Hockely used. There are magical procedures for causing the destruction of enemies, routing out thievery, the magical protection of places and buildings, magical fascination, fulfilling sexual desire and a perilous invocation of the spirit Oberion. There is a strong folkish element hand in hand with complex ritual. Hockley gives some spells a striking visual forms, akin to Mandala. These, supplemented by a haunting illustration of a grotesque Oberion – reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s the Scream, establish Hockley as an innovative occult artist in ways unseen in previous publications. Throughout he employs calligraphic hands, rather than his usual handwriting, making this a visually impressive volume.
The book is half bound in sheepskin leather, which has a lovely natural texture subtly different from the usual goat. The leather has been tanned to be especially pliable, soft and water resistant. The remainder of the board is covered with marbled paper hand made in a traditional 19th century pattern and treated with beeswax by a specialist craftswoman, to give it a water resistant finish and which, with the leather, makes the book pleasant to touch, especially as the marbled paper has been backed with padding, bringing it flush to the leather. The gilt blocked title on the spine and the blind blocked decoration emulate the script and decorations used by Hockley internally. The paper used is 160 gsm mould made paper with natural laid texture.
The use of more water resistant materials gives these facsimiles a fighting chance of resisting any water damage to add to that of the original manuscript which has clearly, at some point, been stored in damp conditions. There is discolouration, show through and offsetting. This has all been reproduced in facsimile. As the pages are printed Giclée process, not as photos of a book, but so it appears that you actually have an old bound manuscript. The Transcript and Commentary is given in a readably calligraphic hand sympathetic with Hockley’s styles. A tinted paper is used, so the latter section does not visually jar with the appearance of age of the facsimile section. Hockley’s probably sources are identified, and this throws light upon that early 19th Century British occult milieu, the Society of the Mecurii, concerning whom there is considerable interest.