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Mythical Beasts & the Lion King Consuelo Child-Villiers An exhibition of paintings In support of The George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust

La Galleria Pall Mall 30 Royal Opera Parade, London SW1Y 4UY 6 – 11 th June 2016

Mythical Beasts & the Lion King Consuelo Child-Villiers An exhibition of paintings

In support of The George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust La Galleria Pall Mall 30 Royal Opera Parade SW1Y 4UY 6-11 th June 2016

Cover image: Background:

‘Winged Lion’  oil on canvas  50 × 73 cm ‘Red’  oil on canvas  76 × 122 cm

A chance meeting with ‘Lion King’ John Rendall, who along with Ace Bourke, famously raised Christian the lion on the Kings Road, London in the 60’s, inspired Consuelo to create an exhibition in support of the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust (GAWPT). John Rendall a trustee of GAWPT explains: “George Adamson was a pioneering wildlife conservationist who personally helped rehabilitate Christian into the wild when we realized we could no longer keep a growing lion cub in London.”

George Adamson with ‘Christian’


Enter the labyrinth where Mythical Beasts and The Lion King dwell,

where the magic nature of things is the Real. Consider that Myth is a movement of the soul, in the form of Shahrázád in Figure with Serpent, a bejewelled reptilian encircling and intertwining its own story, and note the index finger so lightly taking hold of the serpent’s tail. The vital thing – a flash, a movement – best perceived from the corner of the eye, happens in Consuelo Child-Villiers’ paintings. So let’s say you look and look again, – at Unicorn. You will see that her work is both abstract (background), and referential (form), that it is ardent in its expression of the artist’s love-of-the-thing that cannot be seen and yet is there, wanting to be born if only we were patient enough. Rilke, suffered eleven years of emptiness without his Muse, considering this in his Sonnets to Orpheus – O this is the creature that does not exist, … Indeed it never was. Yet because they loved it, a pure creature happened. They always allowed room.1

See Consuelo Child-Villiers’ painting Bull with Acrobat, take in the

whiteness of the bull’s horns, the whiteness of the acrobat’s hands and feet, sense the fierce chromatic freedom in the Magenta background, feel the expression of fear on the feminine figure’s face in contrast to the fluidity and grace while being thrown over.

1 Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus, Book II, no. IV. Trans. M.D.Herter Norton

Kandinsky saw colour and form as being essentially about feelings

and about the spiritual. Matisse considered colours as forces which, in relationship, transformed; dark colours usually dominant could be harnessed. And here is Blue – whorls of energy in an atomic dance of colour, layers upon layers of Woad Blue with traces of Bone Black, an abstraction of infinity, a breaking down and breaking through – impossible! doesn’t exist! – from which a ghostliness of two forms holding hands evokes a still point in the midst of a vast swirling cosmos. And here is Red – the unbounded explosive instability of matter reflecting back the volatile substance of emotion in an echoing Madder Red darkness where a dawning of light comes through from behind evoking the lesson learned in the dark – One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star 2 – the word ‘still’ points to the creative process central to the artist, to the inside turned outwards, to the harnessing of a force, to the making of the Being with the One Horn. Colour as we see it does not exist – or so we are told by Science (unless we love it!) – they say it is only the vibration ‘within colour’ that excites the senses as it penetrates the eye. Light is but a sea-wave, they say, a trembling motion in the air – like the ringing of a great bell in the ear – see the whiskers in the extraordinary Viridian Green of Puma; and yet, the ‘thing’ will become, whatever they say.

It is Nabokov who said the pattern of a thing precedes the thing.

What would we do without this ‘thing’ or even the word itself? Artist – may she be writer, may he be poet, musician, sculptor, – all are One in the quest of the Thing. In Astral Nights a lunar whiteness of light and energy implies a radiance, implies the

2 Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

soul, and the flash of it ‘riding upon a journey’ 3 over an unearthly beauty of darkness in animal form, – Panther Black. – its motion, and its bearing, and its neck, even to the light of its still gaze – they loved it. … And in that room, clear and left open, it easily raised its head and scarcely needed to be. They fed it with no grain, but ever with the possibility that it might be.

Winged Panther, painted during a time of loss, appears in a mysterious

and contradictory and poetic violence of pigment, ‘As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame’ 4. The dynamic of life in Consuelo’s colourings becomes metaphor for the quickenings and extinguishing moments of love and grief. How to get across the movement of life stirring all around one and in one, or at least a feeling of its emergence? With nature’s instinctive intuitive intelligence at her side, Consuelo explores the principle of relatedness running through all things. Experiencing the ‘animal presence’ – invisible, protective, and there, beside her, to the point of its warm breath on her cheek, its muzzle on the pillow, Consuelo describes her sense of privilege for it and that, obedient to the phenomenon within that wants to pad about the room, she gives it to the canvas. It is true that eye and heart gain physical power in contemplation of such sacred stuff. And it is true that the moment of transformation happens where the falling becomes the rising, like the falcon – up! in the ever-widening gyre.

3 W.B. Yeats’ Easter poem 1916 4 Gerard Manley Hopkins

… And this gave the creature such strength, it grew a horn out of its brow. One horn. To a virgin it came hither white – and was in the silver mirror and in her. 5

In Pegasus, the winged-thing never seen is life itself, – the surface of

days continues on its way, time eternal. It is a tremendum, a numinosity – fierce, delicate. And here it is again, shape-shifting in Butterfly. A mastery of power and tenderness radiates in the colourings of the wings, Vermilion, Malachite Green, Terre Vert touched with featherings of Blue-Black escaping delineation, strokes and smudges of Metallic Lime Green create a perspective towards infinity, sweeping strokes in the painting of the wings imparts a dizzying meteoric speed. The more you look at it the more you wonder with an awe that is also a fearful recoil: what lies in the making of such a creature? Psyche reveals herself in her Butterfly form, its worm-body instilling respect, she is playful in her darkness, in a landscape – or inscape – of myths and fairytales. The Soul selects her own Society – Then – shuts the Door – To her divine Majority – Present no more – 6 Guislaine Vincent Morland © June 2016

5 Rainer Maria Rilke 6 Emily Dickinson Vol. I, XIII

‘Black Jaguar’  oil on canvas  60 × 76 cm

‘Snow Leopard’  oil on canvas  76 × 100 cm

‘Leda’  oil on canvas  76 × 100 cm

‘Winged Panther’  oil on canvas  73 × 100 cm

‘Tiger’  oil on canvas  76 × 100 cm

‘Feline’  oil on canvas  71 × 91 cm

‘Lynx’  oil on canvas  65 × 50 cm

‘Figure with Black Panther’  oil on canvas  65 × 54 cm

‘Albino Peacock’  oil on canvas  81 × 100 cm

‘Cheetah’  oil on canvas  101 × 152 cm

‘Lion’  oil on canvas  80 × 116 cm

‘Pegasus’  oil on canvas  73 × 92 cm

‘Unicorn’  oil on canvas  73 × 100 cm

‘Tumbling Horse’  oil on canvas  50 × 150 cm

‘Puma’  oil on canvas  50 × 65 cm

‘Dragon’  oil on canvas  61 × 76 cm

‘Astral Nights’  oil on canvas  40 × 100 cm

‘Blue’  oil on canvas  73 × 92 cm

Consuelo Child-Villiers was born in the UK to an English Father and Italian/Spanish Mother. She has lived for many years between the UK, Italy and the South of France. She was educated in the UK and Italy. Consuelo trained at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy, where she initially studied sculpture. After spending a year travelling through India she returned to the Accademia and studied painting. After graduating from the Accademia di Belle Arti she studied Modern Art at Forte studios in Florence. Consuelo later studied History of Art at Christies Fine Arts in London. Consuelo has exhibited her work extensively in London, New York, Italy and the South of France. Her work has been acquired by various private collectors throughout Europe and the US. Consuelo now lives and works in London. Bubi & Ginevra with ‘Rex’

Consuelo’s passion for animals, most especially Big Cats, originates from long colourful summers spent with her cousins and a menagerie of animals, both domestic and wild at ‘L’Olmaia’, the African style house in Maremma, Tuscany of her extraordinary uncle and aunt, Bubi and Ginevra Bossi Pucci. “None of us thought anything unusual about walking through the woods down to the sea for a swim, with numerous dogs of all shapes and sizes and with ‘Sheer’ the tiger in our midst.”

‘Sheer’ with canine friends

Mythical Beasts & the Lion King  

Exhibition Catalogue of Paintings by Consuelo Child-Villiers. La Galleria Pall Mall, 30 Royal Opera Parade, London SW1Y 4UY. 6–11th June...

Mythical Beasts & the Lion King  

Exhibition Catalogue of Paintings by Consuelo Child-Villiers. La Galleria Pall Mall, 30 Royal Opera Parade, London SW1Y 4UY. 6–11th June...