Richard Shillitoe

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Dr Richard Shillitoe has been interested in surrealism, especially surrealism in England, since adolescence. He first saw the name Ithell Colquhoun in 1971, underneath a poem in the surrealist magazine Transformaction. He couldn’t understand a word of the poem, thought the name was made up and dismissed the whole thing as a surrealist joke. He now concedes this was hasty.

Richard spent his professional life in the NHS, working with people with mental health troubles and trying to help those with chronic physical illnesses cope with their conditions. In atonement for his earlier misjudgement, he has spent much of his retirement trying to find out more about Colquhoun’s life and work and bring it to greater public attention. He published the first attempt to catalogue her artwork in Ithell Colquhoun: Magician Born of Nature (2010) and followed this up by editing (with Mark Morrisson) Colquhoun’s unpublished second novel I Saw Water in 2014. After this he edited the first illustrated edition of her novel Goose of Hermogenes (2018), Medea’s Charms, a volume of her selected shorter writing (2019) and Desination Limbo, her final novel in 2020. He maintains the website