Madge Gill

England, 1882 - 1961

Born an illegitimate child in London in 1882, Madge Gill was placed in an orphanage when she was nine years old. She was subsequently sent to Canada, where she probably worked on a farm. At the age of nineteen she returned to England and became a nurse. She married a cousin, with whom she had four children, although only one of them survived. These unfortunate circumstances led to a long illness and to the loss of sight in one eye. After her aunt introduced her to spiritism, Gill started drawing, working all night long in the darkness in a near state of trance. She always refused to sell her works, claiming that they belonged to her spiritual guide, Myrninerest. Made in black ink and pen, some of her drawings measure dozens of metres while others are barely the size of a postcard. After her death in 1961, hundreds of her drawings were found at her home.

© Courtesy christian berst art brut