Edith Rimmington (1902 - 1986)

The Museum II, 1953

SKU: 10586

Watercolour, gouache, pen and ink on paper

Height – 76cm
Width – 56cm


Gifted by the artist to present owner

Exhibited: Dreamers Awake, White Cube Bermondsey, 28 June 2017 – 17 September 2017.

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 75.

Museum I and Museum II are exceptional works in Edith Rimmington’s artistic production, in the sense that she never made works exceeding a 50 x 70 cm format. The pair were made following an exhibition of regalia that Rimmington saw in London in 1953, the year of the Queen’s Coronation, which gave her the idea of a counter-celebration of monarchy, with subtle ironic undertones.

The King is represented with a gauntlet – the symbol of power and a challenge of combat (to throw down the gauntlet). Yet the king is also shown as a chess piece (alongside the bishop and knight), and reduced to a part in a game beyond his control. Lastly, the anachronistic airship – one of the flying machines of those madmen’ from the early days of aviation – may symbolise man’s eternal (but doomed) desire to fly high. The Queen is represented with lavish but useless trappings. The gloves and slippers are of no use to her; nor the tear-drop earrings, for she has no head, arms or feet. Like the king and the chess piece, the doll shows her as but a toy for some greater power.


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Edith Rimmington
1902 - 1986

Edith Rimmington attended the Brighton School of Art (1919′
22) where she met fellow artist Leslie Robert Baxter (1893’1986)
whom she married in 1926. She joined the British Surrealist
Group on relocating to London from Manchester in 1937, and
despite being one of its only female members, became a key
figure in the movement ‘ showing works at the Surrealist Objects
exhibition at the London Gallery (1937) and the International
Surrealist Exhibition
at the Galerie Maeght in Paris (1947). 

Much of her work from this time is recognisable for its focus
on strange figures and dreams, such as The Oneiroscopist (1947). 

When the British Surrealist Group disbanded in 1947,
Rimmington moved increasingly away from painting to explore
Surrealist ideas through automatic poetry and experimental


Edith Rimmington (1902 - 1986)
Prize Fight, circa 1960