Ithell Colquhoun (1906 - 1988)

Highland Landscape, 1965

SKU: 11192

Signed with mongram, dated, signed and inscribed on the reverse

Fabric collage

Height – 40cm
Width – 50cm


The artist’s sudio; Lays, Penzance, 20 June 1991, lot 655; Christie’s, 12 Dec. 1991, lot 208; WH Lane, Penzance, 25 August 2007; with the Lander Gallery, Truro, in May 2012; Truro Auction Centre, 22 April 2021, lot 144.
1969, Ithell Colquhoun: Constructions and Collages. No 21. Gallerie for Zeitgenössische Kunst. 29 Oct., 24 November, Hamburg; 1970, Ithell Colquhoun: Paintings, Constructions, Collages. No 44. The Bristol Arts Centre. 11 July, 1 August.

Although collages, montages and constructions formed a large part of Colquhoun’s output during the 1960’s, today surprisingly few can be traced.

Her immediate inspiration for these works was Kurt Schwitters. In an article she wrote for The Times Educational Supplement, Rubbish Into Art, (1971), she explained ‘In surrealism an alienation of sensation enables you to look at things simply as form and colour; ignoring their utilitarian aspect; then to see in them images apart from their first uses; and from this to find in many objects usually thrown away the raw material for new creations’.

Highland Landscape was exhibited in 1969 in Hamburg at the Gallerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Ithell Colquhoun: Constructions and Collages (No 21) and in 1970 at the Bristol Arts Centre, Ithell Colquhoun: Paintings, Constructions, Collages, (No 44)The Composition was possibly inpsired by Emeric Pressburger’s iconic 1945 film, I know where I’m going, best-remembered for the sequence in which the landscape, traversed by a train travelling from London to Glasgow, transforms into a tartan Scottish dreamscape.

We are grateful to Richard Shillitoe for assistance

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Ithell Colquhoun
1906 - 1988

Ithell Colquhoun studied at Cheltenham Art School (1925’7) and
the Slade School of Fine Art (1927’31), winning joint first prize
with Elizabeth Leslie Arnold (1909′ 2005) in the 1929 Summer
Composition Competition. 

After discovering Surrealism in Paris in 1932, she held her first
solo exhibition at Cheltenham Art Gallery in 1936 and in 1939
joined the British Surrealist Group, showing alongside Roland
Penrose (1900’1984) at the Mayor Gallery that June. She was
particularly interested in automatic painting and how it could unlock
not just the unconscious mind but also the mystical. 

Despite her expulsion from the English Surrealist Group
in 1940 due to her increasing preoccupation with the occult,
Colquhoun remained active in Surrealist circles ‘ she was married to
Toni del Renzio from 1943’48. She wrote and illustrated numerous
books, including The Living Stones: Cornwall (1957), and exhibited
at the Leicester Galleries and with the LG and WIAC. She took part
in several Surrealist retrospectives in the 1970s, including a solo show
at the Newlyn Gallery in 1976, and the terms of her will bequeathed
her studio (over 3000 works) to the National Trust.


Ithell Colquhoun (1906 - 1988)
Highland Landscape, 1965
Ithell Colquhoun (1906 - 1988)
Hyacinth and Cyclamen
Ithell Colquhoun (1906 - 1988)
Past and Future, circa 1950