Women Artists, Surrealism & The Occult: Ithell Colquhoun

Ithell Colquhoun (9th October 1906 – 11th April 1988)

She was expelled from the English Surrealist Movement for her passionate interest in the Arcane and the Occult. She was artist, poet and novelist. In addition, she was a practicing magician. She did not compartmentalize because for her these activities were intimately related, different facets of her quest to comprehend nature and the myths and traditions of Cornwall where she spent most of her adult working life.

In pursuit of her Initiation, Ithell applied for membership of an offshoot of the Golden Dawn (but was turned down!), entered into Correspondence with Dion Fortune’s Society of Inner Light, and was a member of the New Isis Lodge of Kenneth Grant’s Typhonian O.T.O.  In addition, she was a member of W B Crow’s Order of the Keltic Cross, had an active involvement in Co-Masonry (at one time alongside Lady Frieda Harris), was associated with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, and was ordained as a Priestess of the Fellowship of Isis.

As well as over 80 contributions to various Magical, New Age and Occult journals, Ithell was also a published poet, had written two psychogeographical accounts of travels in her beloved Cornwall and rural Ireland, an Alchemical Surrealist novel ‘The Goose of Hermogenes’, and a study of the life of Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and his work with the Golden Dawn, ‘The Sword of Wisdom’

An excellent overview of her Life & Work, with many descriptions and detailed discussions of the whole range of her Writings, can be found here:


Green Figure with Wings – watercolour – 1971


“Gouffres Amers” 1939

Nude and Orange Sky

Alchemical Mandala

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