John Piper

1903 – 1992


Born in Epsom in 1903. In 1927 Piper enrolled in the Richmond School of Art and a year later at The Royal College of Art, leaving without graduating in 1929. In the early 1930s Piper exhibited with the London Group and became secretary of the Seven and Five Society which included Henry Moore, Ivon Hitchens, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. His early work reflected the trend for abstraction but by the late 1930s he had returned to a more naturalistic style. In 1937 he married the writer Myfanwy Evans. The Shell Guides created with the poet John Betjeman followed. Piper worked on stage designs and costumes for theatre and ballet & on seven operas by Benjamin Britten. He wrote articles on art and architecture and designed stained glass windows and textiles. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Piper was appointed a War Artist and captured the effects of the war on the British landscape. These scenes do not always directly relate to bomb-damage but reflect, in Piper’s unique way, a sense of loss and nostalgia. Piper died at his beloved home in Fawley Bottom in 1992.