Marlborough Fine Art Ltd.

John Piper

(British, 1903–1992)

waddesdon by john piper

John Piper

Waddesdon, 1989

Biography

Timeline

John Egerton Christmas Piper was born at Epsom in 1903, the son of a solicitor. Educated at Epsom College, Piper joined the family firm as an articled clerk until his father’s death in 1925. In 1926, having abandoned the study of law, he attended Richmond School of Art, transferring to the Royal College of Art, South Kensington in 1927. Though regarded foremost as a painter (elected a member of the Seven and Five Society in 1934), Piper was also a set designer for ballet and opera productions and for stained glass windows, as well as being an art and theatre critic. He was also a masterful topographical draftsman with a passion for architecture, nurtured by his close personal and professional relationship with John Betjeman, with whom he collaborated on the Shell Guides to the British Isles
He was a valued member of the Royal Fine Art Commission for nineteen years, as well as a trustee of both the National and Tate Galleries. Piper met and became close friends with Benjamin Britten through writing for the Architectural Review, and worked with him on several musical productions. His first contact with the stage was in the 1930s with the Group Theatre Company. In 1937 he divorced his first wife Eileen Holding and married Myfanwy Evans.
Piper volunteered for the RAF in 1940, but was instead commissioned by the War Artist’s Advisory Committee and was appointed Official War Artist in 1944.
The work of John Egerton Christmas Piper is represented in Bolton Art Gallery, the National Museums and Galleries of Wales and Tate Britain, London.

Exhibitions

1992
Exhibition at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
1990
Oriel 31 touring exhibition John Piper in Wales, with introduction by David Fraser Jenkins
1986 - 1990
Exhibitions of prints at Marlborough Graphics, CCA Galleries, Redfern Gallery, Oxford Gallery, Jersey Art Centre and in Toronto.
Exhibition at the National Theatre, London
1983
November. John Piper, Tate Gallery, with comprehensive catalogue edited by David Fraser Jenkins
1982
November. John Piper, Ceramics, Dan Klein Gallery (solo)
December. John Piper, Painting in Coloured Light, Kettle's Yard Gallery, Cambridge, introduction by Martin Harrison.
1979
May-June. Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, John Piper: 50 years of his work: paintings, drawings and photographs. 1920-79
1977
John Piper, Victorian Dream Palaces and Other Building in Landscape, Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd
1975
September. John Piper, Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd.