Cecil CollinsThe Offering 1961

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Artwork details

Cecil Collins (1908‑1989)
The Offering
Date 1961
MediumLithograph on paper
Dimensionsimage: 410 x 305 mm
Acquisition Bequeathed by Elisabeth Collins, the artist's widow, through the Art Fund 2001
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms


This striking lithograph shows a woman, possibly naked, holding an object which she is offering as a gesture of worship or generosity. She is held in the hand of a giant figure, and it is unclear whether it might be she herself who is the ‘offering’. The stars that surround her perhaps suggest a spiritual context of some kind. Despite the ambiguous subject matter, Collins’s use of lithography adds to the intensity of the image. Morphet commented that ‘The improvisatory potential of lithography was specially suitable to Collins at a moment when he wished simultaneously to unwind, to experiment, and to explore new directions’ (Morphet, p.19).

Collins pursued his vision of a lost paradise, destroyed by the mechanisation of the modern world, throughout his lifetime. Creating his own version of archetypal figures, such as the Fool and the Angel, Collins attempted to reveal to us our innermost selves. These figures, he believed, represented an innocence that had ceased to exist in the ‘Machine Age’ (Keeble, p.73)… (read more)

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