Cecil Collins was born and bought up in the West Country, which was to become an important influence on his drawings and paintings when he returned there later in his life. Cecil studied at the Plymouth School of Art and at then won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art, London. Cecil Collins enjoyed many successful exhibitions in London but there is little of his work to be seen in private collections, as he was largely ahead of his time. Cecil was portraying the unity and spiritual dimensions of life, as connected with the fairly recent holistic movement, as early as the 1930s.
It was while he taught for a time at Dartington Hall, a progressive boarding school in Devon, that it is said he ‘found himself’. Here he seemed to draw on an inner world and began his most famous series of works, the cycle of the Fool. Collins frequently drew on symbolism in his work and had a cast of personages, the Angel and the Fool in particular, which he conjured up to create a world which was complete and coherent in itself. This poetic vision was a central preoccupation and came to signify for him such qualities as spontaneity, purity and light, unappreciated but for the artist, in modern capitalist life.