ithell colquhoun magician born of nature
© All texts copyright Richard Shillitoe 2015-16  All artworks copyright the estate of the artist.

topographical writings:

the blue anoubis In 1966 Colquhoun took a cruise along the Nile from Aswan to Cairo, visiting archaeological sites and temples along the way. Entitled The Blue Anoubis,  with a variant spelling of Anubis, the account of her journey describes the sites she visited, the wildlife and the social conditions of the people she met. Underpinning all of this is her interest in the religious beliefs of the population and how these manifest in architecture, art and artefact. The manuscript was illustrated with her own drawings and sketches of things she had seen – with the inner as well as the outer eye - including visions experienced between sleeping and waking. She was unable to find a publisher and the book remains unpublished. The Blue Anoubis is illustrated with 26 of her drawings. In the main, the writing is straightforward and descriptive although there are occasional florid passages where she directly invokes a deity. One stylistic cliché is her excessive use of a rhetorical question at the conclusion of a paragraph. The book is raised above the level of a routine travelogue by her critical appreciation of the Egyptian pantheon and her facility in making links between different religious traditions. For Colquhoun it is a given that the world is governed by gods and spirits that oversee every aspect of life. Ross Nichols, her friend and fellow Druid, made a similar tour of Egyptian antiquities a few years later, visiting many of the same sites. He too recorded his impressions in a travel diary. Two copies of the typescript, her travel notes, the original drawings and folders of associated material are in the Tate archive.
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