HEAD to HEAD with Jack Coulthard

A talk given by Jack Coulthard to a group of friends and former students from the 60s to open the exhibition Bigger Pictures at the Creative Innovation Centre, Taunton on Saturday 7th December 2013.

Art is a Good Idea

Because we were all together then and we are all together now, we could talk about Art Schools. There was life BEFORE ART SCHOOL, but that was kid’s stuff. So what did we need from Art School? What could it give you? It promised to give you a technical skill, confidence and show you the way to success.

Now I had already noticed (back in the late 1940s) that these promises were already on offer. The only difference between 1948 and 1968 was the name of the club you had to join. In 1948 it was THE JOHN CONSTABLE EUSTON ROAD IMPRESSIONISTS. By 1968 there were lots of new clubs: from Life Class Academic to Conceptual (ART IS DEAD) with Basic Design (ART GRAMMAR) and Abstraction in between.

It didn’t matter which club you joined as long as your body of work was consistent with that style and it could be intellectually justified by PUBLISHED TEXTS which provided a minutely argued dictionary of terms, as did Roman Catholicism, Marxism and Free Market Capitalism. If you could you were made.

Read the full transcript of Jack's talk here: Head to Head - Art is a Good Idea

Certain Prose of the English Intelligencer

Edited by Neil Pattison, Reitha Pattison and Luke Roberts
Introduction by Neil Pattison
First published by Cambridge:Mountain Press, February 2012. Revised second edition published 2014.

This book brings together a selection of prose works from the legendary poetry circular The English Intelligencer (1966–68), one of the definitive documents of later twentieth-century British poetry. Its shifting cast of contributors included such major figures in modernist poetry as Andrew Crozier, John James, Barry MacSweeney, J.H. Prynne, and Peter Riley. The correspondence and essays published here for the first time represent the discourse of an extraordinary group of young poets struggling collectively and independently to articulate the terms of a radical poetics.

Includes contributions by Jack Coulthard.

Revised second edition cover image Iconoclast II by Jack Coulthard (see catalogue 287).

In Place of Reality

Notes to accompany the exhibition "In Place of Reality" held at the Brewhouse, Taunton:

These paintings are a celebration of the parallel existence of an infinite number of different realities, familiar to everyone through memory and the eyes of childhood. At fairgrounds, in the hall of mirrors, in pop-up books, toy theatres, geological models and miniature gardens, we have all been surprised and comforted by these large worlds inside small.

I have tried to picture some of these worlds where they sit, on stage, in a display cabinet, by a memorial or in a crystal ball, so as to recall that sudden feeling of complete and perfect reassurance experienced by children in a museum, amusement arcade, toy theatre, or peep show, when the whole world could sit on the palm of your hand or fit comfortably in your pocket; the feeling that the world COULD fit inside itself in an infinite succession like Chinese boxes or Russian dolls, COULD be bordered and decorated and tied up with ribbons.

The harmony produced by the setting is, as in jewellery, more important than the origin of the stones, than the measured miles between the original landscapes. All distances are contained within the relatively small space of the human frame.

"Can it be far if you can think it?" as Ezra Pound said.


  • Poems 1967-1969
  • The Cold Mountain Show
    - 1974, Pantomime
  • The Cold Mountain Story
    - Long Version, 1983, Short story
  • The Cold Mountain Story
    - Short Version, 1984, Short story
  • Cold Mountain Colouring Book
    - 1989, Comic strip
  • 14 Days For Rosie
    - 1992, Play
  • Crossing
    - 1992, Play
  • Alice in Wunderland
    - 1992, Comic strip
  • Anyway, Anyway
    - 2008, Autobiography
  • Zagga
    - 2008, Story
  • Strings
    - 2009, Story
  • Texel
    - 2010, Story

In progress

  • I, Raphaely - Detective Story
  • Andy Shandy - Story Collection
  • Agapemone - Historical Crime
  • Guess! - Children’s Story
  • A New Underclass - Story
  • The Museum Gangs - Story
  • Darwin’s Birthday - Story
  • Eve Smiled - Story


















Certain Prose