Cecil Collins, ‘Hymn’

Cecil Collins (1908-1989)

‘Hymn’ (1960)

Oil on board

Signed verso with earlier title Death.

122cm X 152cm, 48ins X 60ins

£40,000  (For US dollars and Euros please refer to current exchange rates).

Provenance: Tooth & Sons, thence to the collection of the late Bryce Mckenzie-Smith and now directly from his estate. Mr McKenzie-Smith knew the artist personally and built up one of the finest collections of his work. Three pictures from his collection were lent to The Tate Gallery for their Cecil Collins Retrospective Exhibition in 1989. This is one of the three.


Cecil Collins Recent Paintings, Tooth & Sons, 1965, No 8 wth the title of ‘Death’.

The Hard Won Image, Tate Gallery, 1984, No 40.

Cecil Colins, Tate Gallery, 1988, No 30.

Cecil Collins – The Great Happiness – A Centenary Exhibition, Monnow Valley Arts Centre, 2008

The painting was originally titled ‘Death’, but this was changed by Collins to ‘Hymn’.

The Monnow Valley catalogue quotes Bryce McKenzie-Smith in conversation with Cecil Collins about the painting:

‘Death/Hymn, came in a vision a couple of years after the Whitechapel exhibition. It was later called ‘A Vision’. It is one of his very greatest works (which he says of every second picture). It was painted in Cambridge. The figure is not an angel or a sybyl, but “something new”. It’s like a symphony, he said. I asked about the colours; “ochres” he remembered. I mentioned the wonderful harmony of the lines; “they all trail away to the right”, he said. Note the reciprocity between the head of the figure and the flaring energised images on the horizon that unify the rhythmic impulses of this composition.’

We also have TWO ARTICLES about Cecil Collins which can be viewed on our website. They are – ‘Painter of Reality’, a personal recollection of Cecil Collins by Bryce Mckenzie Smith, and an extract from the volume ‘A Celebration of Cecil Collins’ by the artist Jane Wisner. To read these there is a link below to our Articles and Commentaries section.

Further details on request.

***There are links below to guide you on how to purchase and also to the biographical details of the artist. Additionally there is a link below if you are interested in our section on articles and writings on Symbolist Art History and Symbolism.***

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