• Medea's Charms: Selected Short Writing of Ithell Colquhoun

Publication date: 26 September, 2019
Illustrated with Ithell Colquhoun's paintings

Edited by Richard Shillitoe

The draw to win a 78-card set of Taro cards designed by Ithell Colquhoun is now over - thanks for taking part, and well done to the winner! 

Along with the likes of Leonora Carrington and Dorothea Tanning, the British writer and painter Ithell Colquhoun (1906–1988) is one of a small number of previously overlooked Surrealist women artists, whose stock today is on the rise.

Colquhoun’s paintings have recently featured in touring exhibitions around the UK, command ever-increasing prices at auction, and her occult travelogues of Ireland (The Crying of the Wind) and Cornwall (The Living Stones), first published in the ’50s and reissued with introductions by Stewart Lee in 2016, have quickly sold through four print runs.

In Medea’s Charms Colquhoun’s shorter writings are anthologised for the first time, and reveal 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 used painting to illuminate her writing. 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.

'Rare and beautiful ... Colquhoun has the authentic touch of the Gothic novelist.'

ITHELL COLQUHOUN (1906–1988) was a painter and writer whose works contributed greatly to the British Surrealist movement before and after the Second World War. Her phantasmagorical landscapes and portraits hang on the walls of major galleries around the world. The daughter of a civil servant in India, Colquhoun was born in Assam, but was soon sent back to England. She studied at Cheltenham Art School and the Slade School of Art, after which she took studios around Europe, studying under the likes of Paule Vézelay and André Breton. In 1942 she married fellow surrealist Toni del Renzio. An acrimonious divorce in 1947 also saw Colquhoun informally separate from the surrealist movement, leaving her free to explore her interest in mysticism, the esoteric and the occult. The results of this pre-occupation are most evident in her writing, which includes the short novel Goose of Hermogenes (1961) and two earlier travelogues, The Crying of the Wind (1955) and The Living Stones (1957). She died in Lamorna, Cornwall 1988.

Bibliographic Data
Date Published 26 September 2019
Format Hardback
ISBN Number 9780720620221

Medea's Charms: Selected Short Writing of Ithell Colquhoun

  • £20.00

Related Products

The Living Stones: Cornwall

The Living Stones: Cornwall

In The Living Stones, the British surrealist painter and writer Ithell Colquhoun drifts through Corn..

The Crying Of The Wind: Ireland

The Crying Of The Wind: Ireland

In The Crying of the Wind, the British surrealist painter and writer Ithell Colquhoun recalls episod..

Goose of Hermogenes (Special Illustrated Edition)

Goose of Hermogenes (Special Illustrated Edition)

'Goose of Hermogenes' is a Gothic, erotic and feminist novella and a classic of esoteric fiction. Th..

Tags: colquhoun, Colquhoun, Ithell Colquhoun, Ithell, Ithel Colquhoun, Ithel Colhoun, Surrealism, surrealist, artists, short writing, poetry