Ithell Colquhoun (1906–88) has frequently been considered solely as a footnote to the history of British Surrealism, but her contributions to the development of twentieth-century esoteric art and theory are now being more widely recognised. Despite a lifetime devoted to the study of art and esotericism, her published work remains scant, particularly with regard to her interest in the agency of colour.
Building on Colquhoun’s work with the kabbalah, the Decad of Intelligence was developed during the 1970s and is based on the list of sephirotic intelligences as set out in the Sepher Yetzirah. The work was designed to be a small book of ten enamel pieces, each depicting a different sephira, accompanied by a description of their properties.
Colquhoun intended this work to be used as a guide to contemplation for understanding the deep nature of each of the sephiroth, both in isolation and in completeness. It is offered here as a book of texts and individual cards with this aim in mind. The cards have been produced with gold and silver highlights to better capture the nuance of the original works. The minimal design of the book echoes the sparse yet rich language of the contemplative texts.
This edition is the first full publication of this important work.