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Collins met his wife, Elizabeth Ramsden, when he was studying at the Royal College of Art. They married in 1931 and for the next sixty years she became the most important influence on his life and art. She often appears in his work as the angel or ‘anima’, representing the inner self.

In this unusual image Collins shows his wife sitting in a tree, holding in her hand a trophy symbolising eternity. The bird nesting beside her represents freedom, and possibly indicates the artist’s awareness of the emerging powers and rights of women in society.

February 2004