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Ithell COLQUHOUN The daughter of a civil servant in India, Margaret Ithell Colquhoun was born in Shillong, Assam on 9 October , but was. In the foreword to Ithell Colquhoun’s strange alchemical novella Goose of Hermogenes, Peter Owen paints a vivid picture of the writer and artist. The following text is adapted from the writings of Richard Shillitoe, whose biographical and bibliographical work on Ithell Colquhoun pretty much make him the.

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Inspired by dreams, surrealism, and spiritualities ranging from Wicca to Roman Catholicism, Goose of Hermogenes has attracted an admiring readership since it was first published in Although Colquhoun lived in the twentieth century culture, informed and influenced by surrealism, she was also part of a tradition that can be traced back to the Neoplatonic idea of the World Soul, through the Anima Mundi of the mediaeval hermetic philosophers to Theosophy and the teachings of the contemporary occult groups Hers was, at heart, a pantheistic world view in which the divine, the human and the natural are all fused together in a unity that underlies its surface diversity.

Ithell Colquhoun

For the core of male surrealists in the movement the hermaphroditic ideal was to be gained through the channel of the Muse, or conjunction with the female creative principle. Sadly, many of these had little commercial value for the time, and some of these projects itthell have simply been too radical for public consumption. Help Center Find new research papers in: While a student she engaged in multi-figure narrative compositions.

She finally moved to Cornwall inwhere she lived until her death on 11 April Colquhoun then emerges as a nexus ihtell all of the major occult currents of the 20th century. She did this by using recognised methods such as decalcomaniafumagefrottage and collage. When that happens, the full range of her work will be readily available to the reading public.

Even among those communities, although her importance was recognised, her true merits were concealed: These other planes had things to communicate to her and as such her art was part of her road to enlightenment and served as invocation and ritual.


Her oil painting, Dance of the Nine Opals, shows the Merry Maidens stone circle near Penzance, where each of the stones is revealed to be an opal—the stone of Mercury and the alchemical process. Scylla was first published as an illustration for ‘The Volcano’, 19 a dreamlike narrative which evokes deliberately Freudian references for an island volcano and lighthouse.

It remains unclear to what degree this order was established in its initiatory process, cllquhoun it is very clear from her notes and the art work which remains in her archives that she was working on Second Order-level Golden Dawn material Colquhoun, Cllquhoun drawings and diagrams ss.

At the time Colquhoun preferred hard supporting surfaces ‘as near coquhoun that of polished ivory as possible’ and added of her technique: Explore emotions, concepts and ideas 15, itjell concepts 6, pun 53 nature 46, plants and flowers 2, seaweed 42 seascapes and coasts oclquhoun, rocky 1, sea 3, people 35, body 4, hair leg places 41, countries and continents 17, Italy 4, natural features non-UK 4, Straits of Messina 2 religion and belief 8, classical myths: On top of this, she is to be the focal point of an academic conference in Plymouth in March As such, to consider Colquhoun primarily as a visual artist, would be to diminish her own personal Surrealist project.

Medium Oil paint on board. This element of deliberate provocation is also evident in the painter’s related writings: It is evident that a number of individual artists had occult, mystical and mythological themes in their works.

Paintings and Drawingsexh. However, she had a considerable independent streak and fell out with the leader of the group, ELT Mesens, in over her refusal to give up her occult studies.

Ithell Colquhoun (–) | Art UK

Within Celtic spirituality, her participation in Druidry probably had the most significant impact on her work, but it was more of an influence on her poetry and her essay writing than on her visual work, which continued to be more significantly marked by her alchemical and hermetic symbol- ism. This is one such forum where the voices of both academic and the practitioner will be heard in new collections, monographs, and translations that further the discipline.


One of the chapters directs the narrative through the images of the Book of Lambspring by Nicholas Barnaud. Mesenshead of the English Surrealist Group, expelled her from the group for carrying on with occult research.

This was an historically important group that at one time included Aleister Crowley and WB Yeats amongst its members. Views Read Edit View history. Although not all of her work would be identified as explicitly Surrealist, she would have identified that as a primary current within her life, and most important to her was the link between the Surreal and the Fantastic.

Although Colquhoun explored issues of sex and gender throughout her life, her more challenging and celebrated visual works on this theme came from the earliest stages of her career. Magician Born of Nature’, and webmaster of www. At first sight, this is a pair of rocky pillars that rise out of the sea, but a longer inspection shows that the pillars are based on the view the artist had of her legs and lower torso as she lay in the bath.

In the past two years there has been a small but significant exhibition of her artworks at Penlee House, Penzance, and some major works included in an exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. The Golden Rectangles thus created at the top and bottom of the composition are each divided again in red ball-point into smaller units which all bear the algebraic symbol for the golden section [Theta].

These poems were not random—nothing ever is—but what she was doing was using her conception of the mental and psychic space one opens up to create something sacred from the profane. View all 16 artworks. This imprint specializes in peer-reviewed works of scholarship in the fields of Esotericism, Pagan religion and culture, Magic, and the Occult.