Tuesday 8 March 2022 to Thursday 7 April 2022

Paradise: is it angels with harps perched on undulating clouds, or panoramic views of sky, land, and rockscapes as seen from mountain tops, or unself-conscious half-naked virgins ecstatically dancing, or the ripest clusters of fruits glinting seductively in a celestial Garden, or all of the above? Dependent on our individual and collective cultural backgrounds, we each harbour deeply personal notions of a glorious afterlife or, in the minds of the dreamers amongst us, an achievable alternate life right here, right now. For many ancient Egyptians it was lush reed-fields along the Nile, or for the ancient Greeks, it was ‘The Fortunate Isles’, a winterless earthly paradise inhabited by the heroes and heroines of Greek mythology. For Judeo-Christians it is sometimes a place that had been lost through the Genesis premise of ‘original sin’- Eve and Adam cast out from the garden of plenty by Eve’s naughty action. From this mistake we are condemned to scrape and toil, delve and spin. Although it may have been lost, essential to the idea of Paradise is the certainty or, at the very least, the hope that it can be accessed after our departure from the trials and tribulations of this earthly plane.

Can our understanding of Paradise be depicted? Yes, from painters like Tintoretto and John Martin to Persian miniaturists, from 16c rug-weavers to Emil Nolde in early 20c Germany, we will see that many certainly thought so. Can Paradise be recreated on earth? Yes, medieval and 18c gardeners and certain visionaries and utopian communities thought so as they strove to live their notion of heaven on their own soil. Could Paradise be discovered on earth? Yes, so thought those pioneering settlers who colonized vast swathes of Western America inspired by visions of the ‘Promised Land.’ Later, freed from the conventional religious representations of Heaven/Eden, modernist artists created their own paradises with explosions of colour in huge-flowered jungles, and other-worldly juxtapositions of flora and fauna, and nonrepresentational artists used colour to achieve transcendence as we see in the mighty canvases of Mark Rothko.

Including but going beyond the familiar Renaissance paintings, we discuss the work of talented weavers at their looms, medieval monk illuminators bent over their desks, and little-heralded artists standing before their easels energised by this wondrous subject. Alongside such visual sources, we discuss excerpts of the deeply personal poetry of the Song of Songs in the Ketuvim, the visionary worlds of Traherne, Vaughan and Milton; the humorous realism of Andrew Marvell; and the heavens evoked by Keats, Yeats, Walt Whitman and e.e. cummings. We will end each session with the wondrous music of Haydn, Finzi, Delius, Darius Milhaud, Irving Berlin, and Led Zeppelin. Please join us for a respite from all that is heavy, earthbound and all in all, uninspiring!

Booking Information:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

This short course, will be presented by Nicholas Friend, Founding Director of Inscape. It begins on Tuesday 8 March 2022 at 11 am, repeating on Thursdays at 4 pm. It ends Thursday 7 April 2022. 

You may choose to attend all Tuesdays or all Thursdays, or any mixture of these, subject to availability. You may also choose to attend individual sessions. If you would like to attend but cannot manage a particular date, then we will be sending recordings of missed sessions to all participants. Each session meets from 20 minutes before the advertised time of the lecture, and each lecture lasts roughly one hour, with around 15 minutes discussion.

Cost:  £225 members or £275 non-members for the course of 5 sessions or £45 members or £55 non-members per individual session. All sessions are limited to 23 participants to permit discussion.

Due to the coronavirus cheques are not a viable option at this time. Instead, please make your payment to Friend&Friend Ltd by bank transfer to our account with Metrobank, bank sort code 23-05-80, account number 13291721 or via PayPal to, or credit/debit card by phone to Henrietta on 07940 719397. She is available Tuesdays 10-12 and 2 – 3 pm or Thursdays 2-4 pm.

How to Set Up a PayPal account::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Click on this link:

In the upper right-hand corner of the screen, click “Sign up.”

On the following screen choose “Personal account” and click “Next.”

On the next page, you’ll be asked to enter your name, email address and to create and confirm a password. When finished, click “Next.”

Click “Agree and create account” and your PayPal account will be created.

How to Connect your Bank Account to your PayPal account:::::::::::::::::::::::

Log on to your account and click the “Wallet” option in the menu bar running along the top of the screen.

On the menu running down the left side of the screen, click the “Link a credit or debit card”.

Enter the card information you wish to link to your PayPal account and click “Link card” for debit card.

How to Send Money::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Log on to your account. Click Send & Request.

Enter the email address of the person you wish to send money to:

Type in the amount you wish to send, click continue then press ‘Send Money Now’.