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

oil-and-water-nymph

                                   1964

Oil on plaster board. 42 x 28½in. (108 x 73cm.) Signed with an early variant of the monogram and dated lower right. Provenance Lay’s, Penzance, 2 June 1994, lot 405. Lays, Penzance, 14 Oct. 2003, lot 518. Lays, Penzance, 10 Feb. 2004, lot 19. Private collection. Exhibited Penzance, Newlyn Gallery, 1967, (Autumn), no. 74. Berlin, Kunstamt Wilmersdorf, 1969, no. 13, ill. b/w. Bristol, The Arts Centre, 1970, no. 9. Exeter, City Art Gallery, 1972, no. 21. The support is builder’s plaster board, covered with emulsioned anaglypta wallpaper on the reverse side. It looks like Couquhoun was having her bath-room renovated in 1964 and claimed a piece of old wall. This may be the source of the watery associations. On the other hand, the title may have been inspired by the traditional antipathy between oil and water or the visual appearance of prismatic reflections.   The roughly concentric circles on the body of this spirit figure are reminiscent of those found in Autumnal Equinox (ca. 1949) and other works. They may be related to the chakras, the power centres of the body, although their distribution is not orthodox.