Ithell Colquhoun

Ithell Colquhoun, Scylla, 1938. Photo: Tate

Ithell Colquhoun, Scylla, 1938. Photo: Tate

Ithell Colquhoun (1906–1988, Assam, British India) was a British painter, occultist, poet and author, whose practice is affiliated with Surrealism. From the early stages of her artistic career through to the 1940s, Colquhoun produced several large-scale figurative paintings based on classical and biblical figures. In 1936, Colquhoun participated in the International Exhibition of Surrealism and joined the British surrealist movement in 1939, only to leave the group the following year due to her connection to occultism. She continued to develop surrealist ‘automatic’ painting techniques, which characterised her work for 25 years and resulted in two theoretical texts, The Mantic Stain (1949) and Children of the Mantic Sun (1951). Recent exhibitions include Tate St. Ives, UK (2009-2010) and Manchester Art Gallery, UK (2009).