Gordon Keirle-Smith

A lthough initially a compulsive writer of poems, dramatic monologues and radio plays, from 1967 - 1973, Gordon Keirle-Smith was a visionary artist with a studio in one of London’s major West End theatres (where he also worked as a lighting technician).

During that time he produced a series of symbolic, visionary paintings which were exhibited and sold in a top Cork Street gallery, several of them to well-known theatre personalities who had visited his studio.


An Unwritten Legend

The most notable of these works, prophetically entitled “An Unwritten Legend” (below), was begun in 1970 and took six months to complete.

An Unwritten Legend

While work was progressing on this canvas, he met Johfra and Ellen Lorien, two founder members of the Dutch meta-realist visionary art movement at an exhibition of Johfra’s work in a London gallery. They visited his studio, saw his work and immediately invited him to spend a week with them in the South of France. It proved to be a life-changing experience. He desperately wanted to emulate them... But was lacking the 10 or 12 years of art school needed to come anywhere near their technical mastery. (See examples of their work below).


As a result of this visit, and two others to the Moulin du Peuch (a water mill) in the Dordogne region of France where Johfra and Ellen subsequently moved, Gordon finally decided to give up creating images with oils and brushes – and paint with words instead.

H e moved to France in 1973 and began a succession of contrasting careers, beginning with tour guiding and teaching English to Parisian businessmen. Over the next two years, he drafted the first version of “Zandernatis – the legend of our fantastic prehistory” in which he incorporated all the symbolic and visionary images he would never have the time – or the skill – to paint.

Crucially, this version included the description of how the ancient source texts were found in the “Haakon Urns” under the Antarctic ice in 1962. It also included a chronology of the Zandernation kings and a comprehensive bibliography of all the documents contained in the Urns. The original 190,000 word typescript was submitted to a few publishers, who judged it “too ambitious for a first book”.

D uring the next fifteen years, Gordon played many roles. These included heading a team of 40 teachers at a major Parisian language school and then starting his own communications coaching, language teaching, creative translation and copywriting business serving over a dozen agencies in the huge Publicis Communications Group. In 1994, Gordon and his family moved to Nîmes in the south of France.

The internet and e-mail were just taking off, allowing him to work with his highly diverse range of international clients remotely. During these years, he honed his journalistic, creative writing and copy editing skills in an incredibly diverse range of fields for every imaginable type of audience; perfect grounding for what was coming next...

When the "Unwritten Legend" of 1970 was finally born !



Available as three “Zandernatis” books or the complete single volume Genesis Antarctica.