Surrealism offered many women their first glimpse of a world in which creative activity and liberation from family-imposed social expectations might co-exist, one in which rebellion was viewed as a virtue, and imagination as the passport to a more liberated life.
Leonora Carrington’s personal rebellion began long before she met the Surreallist group in 1937. Right from the start her revolution was an individual one and unrelated with either Marx or Freud.
In many ways Leonora Carrington’s background and life typifies those of other women associated with the Surrealists. In many ways she was almost an embodyment of all that was dear to the movement. Young, beautiful, vivacious, uninhibited and in posession of unlimited imagination.
She came from a wealthy Lancashire catholic family, was educated by governesses , tutors and convent school. Totally rebellious she was expulsed several times for bad behaviour and loathed family and church.
A friend of the family tells that at the age of fourteen, when being introduced to the local priest, , she scandalized the churchgoers by pulling up her dress ,she was wearing nothing underneath, and said : ” Well, what do you think of that ‘?
She was subsequently sent to boarding school in Florence where she first learnt to paint, followed by a short stay in Paris. But her parents back in England had other plans presenting her , despite her opposition, at the Court of King George the fifth. But as she got trapped at Ascot, in the royal enclosure, she somehow managed to escaped and sat reading Aldous Huxley.
When she decided to become an artist the family was strongly opposed, But she was finally allowed to go to London to study