Inspired by Milton’s words

Blind Light by Marc Cowen, inspired by Milton's Paradise Lost
Blind Light by Marc Cowen, inspired by Milton's Paradise Lost

Milton’s Cottage in Chalfont St Giles, just a short journey from here, is the only surviving home of John Milton - the place where he sought refuge from the Great Plague of 1665 and completed his dramatic epic masterpiece, Paradise Lost.

The cottage, garden and collection have been preserved as a museum and the first contemporary art exhibition in the museum’s 129 year history, Beyond Words, is now on and will be open until Saturday June 4.

Displayed in the historic rooms of this Grade I Listed property, it brings together an exciting range of artists from Ghana, Japan and the UK.

Celebrating the words, ideas and literary inventiveness of Milton, each artist has created new work in response to the museum’s collection - the world’s most important public display of first editions of Milton’s poetry and prose.

Participating artists have responded to the extraordinary range of his publications from Areopagitica - his iconic defence of free speech - to the Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, in which he justified the regicide of Charles I.

Displayed alongside the books, paintings and prints that inspired them, their work incorporates a wide range of artistic techniques. From collage to paper cutouts, video art to tapestry, satirical masks to glass installation, their work brings new life to Milton’s words and shows his continuing relevance for our times.

The exhibition is accompanied by Playing With Words, a drop in family workshop led by participating artists from 2-4pm on Wednesday June 1. The exhibition concludes with a poetry reading at 2pm on Sunday June 5.

Opening times 2-5pm Wednesdays to Saturdays as well as Bank Holidays and the last Sunday of the calendar month. Entrance £7, U16s £4, family £16.