British, 1903-1992

Born in Epsom in 1903 to a successful solicitor Piper felt obligated to pursue a legal training until his father died in March 1927.

Free then to follow his artistic longing he began by absorbing the art of his home country (Turner, Blake, Griggs) alongside that of the modern movement abroad (Picasso, Braque, Leger, Matisse).

He travelled widely in this country, and later in France and Italy, keen to record his feelings, experiences and reactions to each location.

"Piper is best known for his extensive studies of British architecture and landscape in oil, watercolour and print"

An early and persistent aim was to encourage wider awareness and appreciation of the heritage and visual pleasures throughout Britain. This aspiration was most evinced by his long involvement with the Shell Guide series begun by John Betjeman.

The 1930s saw Piper chiefly exploring the south coast landscape to enable his style to go into and through a purely abstract phase. The lessons learnt producing these abstracts spilled forward and into many aspects of his art for the next 50 years. The subsequent war and his inherent wider interests ensured he visited and recorded many other places in passing and, often as not, repeatedly so, over decades to capture changes.

The requirement to earn a living as well as Piper’s temperament meant he often collaborated with other artists and craftspeople. Be it designing for the theatre, stained glass, mosaics, ceramics, textiles, tapestries, fibre glass, firework displays or books. Printing was particularly close to Piper’s core means of expression as he realised there were many ways to ‘boot the technique’ (as his much admired artistic hero Picasso had also done) and he knew printing enabled his art to reach a wider audience.

He joked that he didn’t enjoy parties, only working parties. The truth was his immense energy and ability enabled him to tackle many projects, often concurrently, although he always said painting was the fountainhead i.e. the creative source he must repeatedly and regularly return to in order to supply and inform his art work in other mediums.

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