Winifred Coombe Tennant, a life through art (Second Hand)


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Winifred Coombe Tennant (1874-1956) lived with extraordinary intensity.  In public life her wealth and social standing facilitated her promotion of radical ideas, which were rooted in feminist, pacifist, and nationalist principles.  However, her private life was dominated by emotional anguish, initiated by the early death of two of her children.  The revelation, through vivid and sustained psychic experience, of what she believed to be their continued life after death, led her to become the most closely studied psychic medium of her period.

The tension between the public and private lives of Winifred Coombe Tennant came closest to resolution in her love of art.  She lived through pictures and the painters who made them.  She believed profoundly in the idea of genius, and in the artist as a link to life beyond that of everyday experience.  For forty years she strove to support the young painters she met, especially those from working class backgrounds, by facilitating their careers through her social network by publicising them, and by buying their pictures.  Her efforts are recorded in her correspondence, her diary, and her collection of pictures, which are the main sources for this study.

In 1920, observing a young painter at work, Winifred asked herself ‘Can we make the world possible for Genius?’  Into this question she compressed the essence of the complex psyche on an extraordinary being.

The National Library of Wales, 2007.  First edition.  Hardback, 255 pages.  Some damage to the edges of the dust cover, and some feint scuff marks.  Book itself is in as new condition.

Additional information

Weight 1.482 kg
Dimensions 35 × 24 × 5 cm


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