Piper was an English painter, print-maker and designer of stained glass windows and theatre sets. His work often focused on the British landscape, especially churches and monuments and included tapestry designs, book jackets, screen-prints, photography, fabrics and ceramics. He was educated at Epsom College and trained at Richmond School of Art, followed by the Royal College of Art, London. He turned from abstraction early in his career, concentrating on a more naturalistic approach. As well as being official war artist in World War II, he also collaborated with many others including the poets John Betjeman and Geoffrey Grigson on the Shell Guides and the artist Ben Nicholson. In later years he produced many limited edition prints.
John Piper, CH (1903-1992), The Oxford Gates, Stowe,
14 ½ x 19 ½ (36.5 x 50 cm)
Literature: John Piper ‘Stowe’ 1983, p.19 (repr.)
The Oxford Gates were designed by William Kent in the 1730’s and now act as the main entrance to the grounds. The Boycott Pavilion is visible in the background. Stowe was a life-long passion of Piper’s. He had a cottage for a time on the estate and was planning a book on the subject from the 1940’s. It was at Stowe that he coined the phrase ‘pleasing decay’.