Ithell Colquhoun

Amy Hale


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Strange Attractor Press
12 November 2020
ISBN: 9781907222863
336 pages

From the publisher

This book will be the standard work on Colquhoun for years to come…a major step forward in this process of increasing appreciation and understanding of her life and work. Richard Shillitoe, Art Cornwall

Impressively erudite. TLS

‘At 10 Years Old I Imagined Christ As A Hermaphrodite… I Fused The Red Hearted Jesus With The Blue Cloaked Mary And Made A God With Breasts.’

After decades of neglect, the British Surrealist and occultist Ithell Colquhoun’s unique vision and hermetic life have generated enormous interest amongst historians and practitioners of art and magic. In this, the first in-depth biographical study of Colquhoun and her work, Amy Hale examines the magical and cultural confluences that shaped her imaginative life and artistic vision.

Rejecting the hectic social expectations and magical orthodoxies of London’s art and occult scenes, Colquhoun retreated to Cornwall, where, at the price of relative cultural obscurity, she pursued a life of profoundly dedicated spiritual and artistic enquiry. As a result, her visual and written works have only recently begun to receive the recognition they deserve as daring experiments in magical art, autobiography and esoteric feminism.

As the influential role of occult ideas in the history of art becomes ever clearer, Colquhoun’s work is long overdue a fresh consideration. ‘Genius of the Fern Loved Gully’ balances engaging biography with historical erudition and critical insight into her art and writing.