British painter of visionary subjects, born in Plymouth. He studied at Plymouth School of Art, 1923–7, and at the *Royal College of Art, 1927–31. In 1936 he took part in the International *Surrealist Exhibition in London, but he quickly repudiated Surrealism. He had a mystical outlook and was influenced by the prophetic writings of William Blake and by the American artist Mark *Tobey, who introduced him to the Baha'i religion and to the art and philosophy of the Far East (Tobey was artist-in-residence at Dartington Hall, a progressive school in Devon, 1931–8, and Collins taught there, 1939–43). In 1947 Collins settled in Cambridge and in that year published his book The Vision of the Fool, in which he explains his philosophy of art and life.

Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)

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