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

the arrow and the serpent

1944 

Oil on paper. 28 x 21¼in. (71 x 54cm.) Inscribed verso with the artist’s name, the title and date. Provenance Private collection. Lawrences Auctioneers of Crewkerne, 22 Jan 2016, lot 1644. Exhibited Bradford, Cartwright Hall, 1954,  no. 490. Penzance, Newlyn Gallery, 1961, no. 20. The title indicates that Colquhoun had the Qabalistic Tree of Life in mind, as it makes reference to two different routes to enlightenment. It is sometimes said, for example, that the path of initiation follows the coiling of the serpent upon the Tree but the way of illumination follows the path of the arrow. It is difficult, however, to make a clear link between the title and image.