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The Glastonbury Zodiac - Part 4: Earning Recognition

Apart from publishing books and articles on the zodiac for the remainder of her life, Katharine Maltwood continually sought to win official recognition for her discovery.58 Being convinced it was "the oldest scientific heirloom of the human race" she wanted its preservation no longer to be left to chance. She spoke of her work as unfinished and invited further research. However she failed to win the support of recognized experts in the field. Although she wrote to every possible source for help her find was dismissed in academic circles as too inherently improbable to warrant serious investigation.59

In 1950 the artist held a month-long exhibition of the material pertaining to the Somerset giants at the Redwood Library in Rhode Island, U.S.A. Writing to a friend she described the exhibition as most successful and complained "America cannot understand England's conspiracy of silence on the subject." It was a perpetual disappointment to her that her work never won approval in establishment circles. She concluded sadly that only the "enlightened few" could appreciate the profound significance of her Temple of the Stars "considering the callous materialism and indifference of the present day."

In spite of this failure to win academic support, by the time of Katharine Maltwood's death in 1961 she had gathered a considerable number of disciples in both England and North America. Many were associated with Theosophy and Freemasonry and included several antiquarians and scholars who have since followed up her researches. Although certain aspects of her theories have been outdated the general thesis has been accepted by many of these followers.60 She is regarded by them as a "brilliantly intuitive woman" whose talents as an artist helped her discern "this nature -sculpture" and whose mystical training "attuned her to its philosophical and astronomical teachings, still vibrating faintly on a wave-length no one else could then hear." Some feel she had transcendental insight into the zodiac and that its discovery was her mission in life, linking her with the eternal memories of the race. Today there is a great interest in the Somerset zodiac as a sacred centre of learning and there have been many claims of similar effigies being discovered in other parts of the country. Katharine Maltwood is looked back on as "a lone pioneer" who "suffered the fate of most of her kind, dying without reaping the reward of recognition for her splendid labours."



All content on this page is copyright © 30 January, 2006
Rosemary Brown, the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, and the University of Victoria

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