Richard Shillitoe has curated Ithell Colquhoun’s first London exhibition since 1977.
Born in India, she studied at The Slade and engaged with the Surrealist movement both in France & England before being expelled from the London group for refusing to curtail her esoteric interests. Withdrawing full-time to Cornwall in 1959 she became increasingly concerned with occult activity. Her researches led her to engage with Druidry, Freemasonry, Martinism (a group promoting mystical Christianity} and ceremonial magic. She was a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis, an order which followed in the tradition of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and in later life she became a Priestess of the Fellowship of Isis. Many of these influences can be seen in the works on display in the exhibition.
A fully illustrated catalog with texts by Richard Shillitoe & Alyce Mahon will be published to accompany the show
Admission to the exhibition is Free. You are advised to visit Wednesday – Friday between 12 noon and 5pm as we can be busy at other times
THE PRIVATE VIEW WILL ALSO BE THE OCCASION FOR THE BOOK LAUNCH FOR MEDEA’S CHARMS BY ITHELL COLQUHOUN, PUBLISHED BY PETER OWEN.
In Medea’s Charms Colquhoun’s shorter writings are anthologised for the first time, revealing the scope and sophistication of her interest in both the occult and surrealism. Poetry and short stories are complimented by her essays, the subjects of which range from hermetic texts for both the novice and the advanced practitioner, to writings on art and folklore. Colquhoun scholar Richard Shillitoe unlocks the secrets of her work, guiding the reader through the extraordinary imagination that lies at the heart of Colquhoun’s genius.
The book also demonstrates the extent to which Colquhoun’s painting and writing illuminate each other. The interplay between word and image is brought home by the inclusion of a striking selection of her paintings, some of which are reproduced here for the first time.