Milton’s Garden – new prints from John Phillips’ Vanitas series

6th – 28th October

Celebrating the 350th anniversary of its publication, this exhibition presents the flowers of Paradise Lost in a new light.

Assembling images from dozens – occasionally hundreds – of separate photographs, Phillips has employed his extraordinary photographic technique to embrace the range of colours, light, dense detail and masked allusion that reference the 17th century Vanitas paintings created by Dutch and English masters from Milton’s time.

Each print evokes the idea of loss and mortality, illustrating Milton’s idea tht int he moment of original sin the petals themselves died:

“From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve/Down dropped, and all the faded roses shed” (Book IX, lines 892-893)

To accompany these prints, Phillips travelled to the Greek region of Arcadia to create a pnorama of the vast opencast coal mine that occupies the site of the lost village of Anthochori (flower village).

For Milton and his contemporaries, Arcadia was a fabled land of abundance – celebrated in his masque Arcades – and its loss evoked a bygone age.  Phillips’ image Anthochori reveals our brutality towards this legendary home of Pan and a worldly Paradise Lost.

All prints in the exhibition are available for sale.  Proceeds will support Paradise Maintain’d – a new endowment fund to protect  and preserve Milton’s Cottage in perpetuity.