ARUNDEL CASTLE  October 2015  /  SOUTH-EAST SICILY  October 2015   /  ALONG THE VIA AEMILIA   October – November 2015  / YORK MINSTER November 2015  /  NEW YEARS EVE IN FLORENCE Dec – Jan 2016

Churchill’s Retreat: Madeira


Thursday 10 to Tuesday 15 December 2015

some spaces remain – please contact us to confirm availability before booking

William Wordsworth wrote a poem about ‘the flowers/That in Madeira bloom and fade’. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke composed while sitting on his balcony at the elegant sea-side Reid’s Hotel in Funchal, Madeira’s capital city. George Bernard Shaw took lessons from the hotel’s dancing master, and left a signed photograph with the inscription “To the only man who ever taught me anything.’ No doubt Albert Schweitzer ran his fingers over the keys of Funchal’s impressive cathedral organ during his stay, and Camille Saint-Saens hummed along to local folk songs while here. Ralph Richardson passed through, and and Gregory Peck stayed while filming Moby Dick. Madeira inspired Sacheverell Sitwell, A.J.Cronin, John Dos Passos and countless other writers. In 1950, an ailing Winston Churchill came to Madeira to recover from a stroke, to write his war memoirs, to prepare himself for the 1950 Election, and above all, to paint. Churchill was forty before he discovered the pleasures of painting. The purely visual compositional challenge of depicting landscape with lines and brush-stokes rather then words gave him a temporary and welcome respite from the torrents of words that flowed through him demanding an entirely different order of attention and action. Over his remaining forty-eight years his considerable nonverbal creativity yielded more than 500 pictures. Sheer delight accounted for his devotion to painting. We study his creations, attend to his eloquent writings on painting and reading, and stand in one of his favorite spots from which to paint the harbour in Camera de Lobos enthralled by its colourful boats and tiny fisherman’s cottages. With Churchill, particularly his accomplishments as  a writer and artist, as the jumping off point, we ponder the literary and musical works of other artists and writers who also retreated to the rest, recuperation, and rejuvenation offered by Madeira.

COST £1850 members, £1900 non-members, single room supplement £95, £300 deposit, includes flights, all transfers, taxis and cable cars, five nights accommodation in Quinta Jardins do Lago Hotel, all breakfasts, all lunches, tea at Reids, five dinners with wine, all lectures, all entrance fees, all gratuities, VAT.




ARUNDEL CASTLE  October 2015
SOUTH EAST SICILY   17 – 24 October 2015
ALONG THE VIA AEMILIA   October – November 2015
YORK MINSTER   November 2015
NEW YEARS EVE IN FLORENCE   December – January 2016