We are delighted to present our latest title from Wilmar Taal, Gallowmen and Mandrakes – The Occult life of Bob Laurentius Richel. With this book, Wilmar continues his in-depth research into the origins of the Richel-Eldermans collection housed in the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall. The first book, The Silent Listener, examined the life of JHW Eldermans, seeking insight as to why he produced such a large and fascinating collection of occult objects and art. This is followed by the endlessly fascinating and very popular study of Eldermans’ The Gnome Manuscript. Gallowmen and Mandrakes explores the life and art of Bob Laurentius Richel, the son in-law of JHW Eldermans and an equally enigmatic contributor to this unique collection.
A few words from Wilmar:
On the first floor of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, the Richel-collection stands out through its quality and volume. The former steward of this collection was Amsterdam-based collector and presumed occultist Bob Richel.
Although the collection consisted mostly of works and objects fashioned by his father-in-law J.H.W. Eldermans, Bob was quite an accomplished artist himself. He was skilled in wood working, casting metals but most of all he was a splendid draughtsman. Contrary to his father-in-law, Bob was an artist, he played with layers of meaning, his drawings flowing from his subconscious by starting with a single dot on paper, watching the depiction grow as he proceeds. His works deal with his perpetual fear of a nuclear war, his trauma from World War II, his fascination with the Devil, the dark sides of Roman-Catholicism and of course themes from the occult.
This is the world in which Bob raises his children, makes his art in the early hours and late at night, producing drawings that even have a story to tell in the twenty-first century.
Wilmar Taal MA (1969) is a Dutch cultural historian with an expertise on history, folklore and the occult. He authored several books like The Silent Listener. The Life and Works of J.H.W. Eldermans, The Gnome Manuscript part one: Origins, habit and culture and The Gnome Manuscript part two: The Gnome Grimoire. Magical workings with Nature Spirits. He lives with his wife in Koog aan de Zaan, The Netherlands, but wouldn’t mind moving to Cornwall one day.