Valentine Penrose, Surreal Occultress
Lecture – Dr Sabina Stent
“Valentine Penrose (1898-1978) liked to think of herself as a witch”. So writes a biographer of this remarkable artist. Valentine Penrose was a poet, collagist, and Erzsébet Báthory biographer, and her name frequently crops up in volumes of women artists and the surrealist moment. In spite of this, she has never been studied in depth, even though she is often mentioned in in collected works on alchemy and esoteric Surrealism. Penrose was fascinated by female mysticism, tarot and the occult to the extent that she studied various forms of the arcane in Egypt, Paris’ Sorbonne and India. This illustrated lecture brings her occultism into focus, looking at her visual art and written works, and from there examining how her magical practice and esoteric knowledge were ingrained in both her professional and personal life. By the end of the evening you will, we hope, concur that deserves recognition as the Occultress of Surrealism.
Sabina Stent is an independent scholar who researches, writes and lectures on the subject. Her PhD thesis was “Women Surrealists: Sexuality, Fetish, Femininty and Female Surrealism (Birmingham, 2012). In May 2017 she lectured at Treadwell’s on Leonor Fini: Surrealist Sorceress to a sold-out audience, and she returns at our express invitation.