In The Living Stones, the British surrealist painter and writer Ithell Colquhoun drifts through Cornwall in search of an artist's studio and sanctuary from the modern world. Her finely wrought and learned observations of festivals, fairs and druidic rituals, quickly establish her as the reader's gnostic guide to the county. She paints a land of ghosts, pedlars, borrowed saints and holy sites, charmed wells and crumbling megaliths, and finds in the city emigrants a prefiguring of hippie culture. Above all, Colquhoun connects us with the eerie, numinous beauty of the Cornish countryside, quietly insisting that we see the Cornwall she sees: an ancient land of myth and legend.
Ithell Colquhoun (1906-1988) was a painter and writer whose works contributed greatly to the British Surrealist movement before and after World War II. Her phantasmagoric landscapes and penetrating portraits hang on the walls of major galleries across the UK. Her work is informed by a profound understanding of animism, the esoteric and the occult. These preoccupations are most observable in her writing, such as Goose of Hermogenes and I Saw Water. Stewart Lee is an award-winning stand up comedian and writer. He was born in 1968. His work includes Jerry Springer: The Opera and the BBC series Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle.