In this presentation, illustrated with her artwork, photos, video, and newspaper clippings, Julia Phillips explores Norton’s early life
Rosaleen Norton: Pan’s Daughter: Presentation by Julia Phillips
“I have been described as eccentric, decadent, exhibitionist, crank, genius, witch, freak, and so on… well here I am at 38 … having packed more into that span than most people would normally live in a dozen lifetimes.” (Rosaleen Norton, The Australasian, 1957)
Rosaleen Norton (1917-1979), whose witch name was Thorn, led an extraordinary life. A visionary artist of exceptional skill, she was uncompromising in the subjects of her art and scathing of the ‘fig-leaf’ morality she observed in a conservative society that was at odds with her Bohemian nature. Norton’s reputation was such that Gerald Gardner was interviewed about her, and a piece of liturgy she wrote found its way into modern Wiccan ritual.
In this presentation, illustrated with her artwork, photos, video, letters, and newspaper clippings, Julia Phillips explores Norton’s early life, her artistic influences, and her fascination with psychology and the occult. She looks at her relationships with Beresford Conroy, Gavin Greenlees, Sir Eugene Goossens, and Wally Glover, and the Bohemian world of Sydney’s Kings Cross, where she became such a fixture that she was known as ‘the Witch of King’s Cross.’
Julia Phillips received her PhD from the University of Bristol for her research examining how witches and witchcraft were featured in newspapers in Victorian Britain. Her interest in Rosaleen Norton was inspired after encountering some of her art whilst living in Sydney in the 1990s, and hearing stories about this extraordinary woman from some of those who knew her.
Recent publications include: ‘Madeline Montalban: Magus of the Morning Star,’ in Essays on Women in Western Esotericism, Edited by Amy Hale, and ‘The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic: Toward a New History of British Wicca’ in Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft, University of Pennsylvania Press.
Image: Lucifer, by Rosaleen Norton. Photo by Julia Phillips.
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