Gallowmen and Mandrakes

The occult life of Bob Laurentius Richel

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.

Available in the following editions:

Paperback Edition: Gloss laminate cover.

Standard Hardback Edition: a dark blue case binding with copper foil blocking to cover & spine, 90gsm cream stock, black endpapers, with blue head and tail bands.

Special Edition: a limited edition of 125 hand-numbered examples, bound in dark grey faux leather, with copper foil blocking to the front and spine, 90gsm cream paper stock, black endpapers, with black head and tail bands.

Size: All editions are Royal format 234 x 156mm.

Pagination: 288 pages extensively illustrated with drawings and photographs from various Edlermans collections plus black & white photographic plates.

Introduction by Graham King


The Grand Wizard in Amsterdam 1925-1945

  • Problem child
  • Hillegersberg
  • The Sacred Masturbatio
  • World War II
  • Camp Bleijenbeek
  • Resistance and Interior Forces

Artworks by Bob Richel 1930-1945

The Dance Macabre, the debauched game 1946–1952

  • Malakka
  • Surabaya
  • Stranger in a strange land
  • Father Serapion
  • Ruth and Rob
  • ‘Again, death sings its gloomy song’

Artworks by Bob Richel 1946-1952

The good treasurers 1953-1969

  • Amsterdam – The Hague
  • Strides on the path of magical art
  • Krommenie
  • Magical connections
  • The prodigal son

Artworks by Bob Richel 1953-1969

Phantoms with a woman’s shadow 1970-1983

  • Bob Richel’s Amsterdam
  • Exhibitions
  • Between bourgeois and eccentric
  • The tragedy of Bob and Louise

Artworks by Bob Richel 1970 – 1983

Time consumes man the most 1984-2000

  • The heritage of Jan Eldermans (and the reboot of the Richel-collection)
  • Retirement
  • Mandrakes and gnomes
  • Gallery Erotique
  • To see gnomes is to look in a different way!
  • Collector
  • Memento mori
  • A museum for witchcraft

Artworks by Bob Richel 1984 – 1993


  • The Richel-collection
  • Conclusion





Paperback Edition

£18.50 plus shipping

For shipping information click here

Standard Hardback Edition

£32.50 plus shipping

For shipping information click here

Special Edition

£39.30 plus shipping

For shipping information click here

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