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Collins often used light and darkness to symbolise the forces of good and evil. This picture depicts the world at night, and the ‘promise’ of the title refers to the coming dawn, heralding possibilities of birth and growth. It shows a section of seashore, cut open to reveal seeds, shells and chrysalises lying in the earth. Two charges of energy burst forth like radiant flowers from the earth’s surface, their rays energising the dormant forms below. Briefly linked with Surrealism, Collins showed a closely related work at the International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936.

July 2008