Surrealist Women: Ithell Colquhoun

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Ithell-Colquhoun[1] Ithell Colquhuon-Man Ray 1932 Although Ithell Colquhoun distanced herself from theLondon Surrealist Group in 1940 she considered herself a Surrealist for the rest of her life.The schism occurred when Colquhoun was unwilling to submit to the group’s leader E.L.T Mesens dictates that any member was forbidden to belong to a secret society: Colquhoun was a serious occultist and was a member of several lodges and organizations including the Typhonian O.T.O, an order that had fallen under Aleister Crowley’s sway and which he had re-directed towards the practice of his own Thelemaic sex-magic. Colquhoun had her run-ins with the Great Beast, one timewhen she had rejected his advancesCrowley chased her around his house.

As well as being a painter and occultist, Colquhoun was a gifted writer. Published by Peter Owen, the same independent firmthat published Anna Kavan, Colquhoun wrote two idiosyncratic travel books on Ireland and Cornwall respectively; abrilliantly sustained…

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