Historic Artist’s Book Found in Secondhand Bookshop

The power of stories. A historical personalised annotated book that belonged to artist Elisabeth Collins who was the wife of visionary artist Cecil Collins has been found in a secondhand bookshop on Ipswich High Street by Ipswich-based artist, Jason Kofi-Haye. The artist was already an admirer of Collins’ work, and was not aware that Elisabeth Collins had owned the book until he saw a series of handwritten clues.

Cecil Collins (1908-89) has been compared to William Blake and celebrated as one of the great visionary artists that Britain has ever produced; his work is displayed in the Tate Gallery and Tate Modern. Collins had a major exhibition in Aldborough in 1984 and the Suffolk composers Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears were collectors of his work. Elisabeth Collins was Cecil’s muse for his painting of angels, but was an artist in her own right and was taught by American painter Mark Toby famous for the drip-style painting which later influenced Jackson Pollock’s 20th-century iconic paintings.

Jason Kofi-Haye is making work in response to the current Power of Stories exhibition at Christchurch Mansion which ends on 24 October, the Mansion has several pieces of Cecil Collins work donated by Elisabeth Collins before she passed away in 2000.

Jason Kofi-Haye will be presenting in a live speaking event The Power of Stories: Art Intervention: Here I am; the role of conscience and the inner voice in narrative structures, on Twitter Spaces on October 14 at 7pm. Follow @ipswichmuseums and @artslaolam on Twitter to hear the conversation.

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