Ithell Colquhoun
Scylla 1938

Artwork details

Artist
Ithell Colquhoun 1906–1988
Title
Scylla
Date 1938
Medium Oil paint on board
Dimensions Support: 914 x 610 mm
frame: 1004 x 706 x 69 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1977
Reference
T02140
Not on display

Display caption

Colquhoun wrote that the title of this work refers to the female monster who, according to the ancient legend in Homer’s Odyssey, inhabited narrow straits and devoured passing sailors. Yet there is also strong sexual and feminine symbolism at play in this work. As Colquhoun explained, ‘It was suggested by what I could see of myself in a bath…it is thus a pictorial pun, or double-image’. Produced during Colquhoun’s transition from magical realism to surrealism, this painting is one of her most introspective.

September 2016

About this artwork