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Underworlds with Stephen Ellcock

October 31, 2023 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm



Join us for a darkly evocative visual talk, based on the book Underworlds, a compendium of images exploring natural, constructed, imaginary, and subconscious underworlds, by renowned image collector and social media figure Stephen Ellcock.

This talk will take the audience on a captivating visual odyssey to the underbelly of everything, from depictions of life and natural systems existing beneath the surface of the Earth to imagery that emanates from the depths of our subconscious. Work by world-renowned artists—from Peter Paul Rubens and René Magritte to contemporary artists such as Kara Walker and Roger Ballen—will be featured alongside recently unearthed images from archives around the world. Expertly curated, themed, and paired by image alchemist Stephen Ellcock, these remarkable depictions will evoke the underworlds—both real and imagined—that have fascinated humankind for millennia.

From the burrows and secret bunkers beneath our feet to imagined hellscapes and surrealist dreamscapes, the disquieting, alarming, and wonderful visuals will span natural and constructed subterranea and imagined and subconscious worlds. The works of art featured will range from the scientific and photographic to the surreal and visionary. Ellcock will establish key themes and elucidate essential concepts, historical events, and figures, and provide thought-provoking literary, philosophical, and spiritual quotations alongside the intriguing images.

Together, the talk and images will highlight the interplay between the real and the imagined, revealing how the real has informed our imagination, and conversely how our imagination has depicted the esoteric, the abject, and the unknown.

Stephen Ellcock is a renowned image-collector-alchemist whose online cabinet of curiosities—an ever-expanding, virtual museum of art that is open to all via social media—has so far attracted more than 600,000 Instagram and Facebook followers from around the world. His books The Cosmic Dance, England’s On Fire, The Book of Changes and All Good Things are all classics of the illustrated genre from a revolutionary trailblazer with a huge and dedicated following.


Dartington Trust
01803 847000
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Studio 1, Dartington Trust, South Devon
Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EL United Kingdom
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