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Art, Imagination & Thomas Traherne

I

‘All things were pure and glorious…I knew not that there were any sins, or complaints or laws. I dreamed not of povertie, contentions or vices. All tears and quarrels were hidden from mine eyes. Every thing was at rest, free and immortal.’

The Traherne Window’s, Audley Chapel, Hereford Cathedral, by Tom Denny
The Traherne Window’s, Audley Chapel, Hereford Cathedral, by Tom Denny

‘I was entertained like an angel with the works of God in their splendour and glory. I saw all the peace of Eden. Heaven and Earth did sing…’

Thomas Traherne, The Centuries of Meditations, III.2

“Thomas Traherne once asked: ‘Is it not strange, that an infant should be heir to the whole world, and see those mysteries which the books of the learned never unfold’. And yet Traherne did not doubt this was in fact. Traherne never forgot what he himself had seen as a child:

The late A.M. ‘Donald’ Allchin, who founded the Thomas Traherne Association with Rev. Richard Birt
The late A.M. ‘Donald’ Allchin, who founded the Thomas Traherne Association with Rev. Richard Birt

‘The corn was orient and immortal wheat, which never should be reaped, nor ever was sown. I thought it had stood from everlasting to everlasting…Eternity was manifest in the light of day, and some thing infinite behind every thing appeared, which talked with my expectation and moved my desire.’
The Centuries of Meditations, III.3
From ‘Landscapes of Glory’ edited by the late A.M.Allchin

II

Cecil Collins says that there is no meaning in life or art ‘excepting that which springs from the immortal surreality of that Eternal Person’. The artist and the poet must embody ‘the eternal virginity of spirit, which in the dark winter of the world, continually proclaims the existence of a new life, gives faithful promise of the spring of an invisible Kingdom, and the coming of light’. Art seen in this way, is a channel of grace providing a link between the visible and invisible realities.” —Peter Fuller, Modern Painters magazine, Vol 2, no 2, 1989

Harry Matthews

un poète et peintre

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