John Piper 1903-1992

  • JOHN PIPER LG CH 1903 - 1992 Painter, notably of architecture and landscape, designer of stained glass and for the...

    JOHN PIPER LG CH  1903 - 1992    Painter, notably of architecture and landscape, designer of stained glass and for the theatre, and writer, born in Epsom, Surrey. His first wife was the artist Eileen Holding, his second the writer Myfanwy Evans, and his sone the artist Edward Piper. From 1921-6 studied law and worked in his father’s solicitor’s office before studying at Richmond and Kingston Schools of Art and Royal College of Art, 1926-9.


    In mid-1930s after a visit to Paris concentrated on abstract painting, but then reverted to representational work. First solo show, of collages and drawings, at London Gallery, 1938. Member of LG in 1933 and 7 & 5 Society, 1934-5. Piper was a prolific writer, working for The Athenaeum, New Statesman, Nation and Architectural Review, publishing his first guide book in 1938. With his wife he produced the influential Axis - A Quarterly Review of Contemporary “Abstract” Painting and Sculpture, 1935-7. From 1940 for about 20 years he had one-man shows with Leicester Galleries. His ballet designs included The Quest, 1943 and Job, 1948 as well as operas for Benjamin Britten.


    Piper was an official war artist in World War II. In 1942 he published his best-selling monograph English Romantic Artists. Was on several Occasions a trustee of the Tate Gallery, member of the Arts Council panel and a member of Royal Fine Art Commission. Stained glass window designs included Coventry Cathedral and Christchurch College Chapel, Oxford. Made Companion of Honour, 1972. Retrospectives were held at Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1979 and Tate Gallery 1983. Arts Council and many provincial galleries hold his work. Died at Fawley Bottom, Oxfordshire.


    Taken from The Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945 by David Buckman