I’ve finally been able to visit Milton’s Cottage in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire. What a charming and very English house and garden. Standing in the room where John Milton spoke out Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes was an extraordinary moment.
Milton in Chalfont St Giles
Milton arrived at this beautiful spot in 1665 to escape the London plague. I was able to be in the room where he lived, slept, and spoke out the words that his muse, ‘Urania’ gave him in the night. This was the very place that heard his incredible vision – it felt like an echo, brought alive by the countless first editions, paintings, and portraits that surrounded me.
It’s important to remember that this is an audible poem, so I recommend that you listen to it on the audio book narrated by Anton Lesser, published by Naxos, and lasting 10 hours and 42 minutes.
As a blind poet, Milton was dependent upon his wife, Elizabeth, to get each word down on paper. As a painter (or visual poet), I too cast out my imagination into a space to find its form.
Curator, Kelly O’Reilly, made me so welcome and I was blown away by her knowledge of Milton and his times. I was able to show her my recent drawings, completed at the Albers Foundation in USA this summer. I’m looking forward to showing my Milton work throughout the house in 2024. This will be part of their celebrations of the 350th anniversary of Milton’s death.