Piper, John: Bedford Square
Piper visited Brighton in 1938 and was inspired by both its architecture and atmosphere and his book containing the 12 ‘Brighton Aquatints’ was published in 1939. Piper believed Brighton’s Regency architecture was worth protecting, calling it the ‘proper background for popular English seaside life’, and his illustrations were intended to draw attention to its qualities.
200 standard copies were printed from which this print is taken and a further 55 copies were hand-coloured by the artist, none of the prints were signed.
The process of creating an aquatint involves exposing a plate, usually of copper or zinc, to acid through an applied layer of granulated, melted resin. The acid incises the plate between the granules creating areas of evenly pitted surface. This can be varied by applying additional resin, scraping and burnishing. Different strengths of acids are also employed. When the grains are removed and the plate is printed it results in variations of tone. The effect often resembles watercolours and wash drawings, hence the name aquatint.
More images can be provided on request.
Artist: John Piper, (British, 1903-1992)
Title and date: Bedford Square, 1939, (Levinson 17)
Size: 46.0 x 55.o cms.
Born in Epsom, John Egerton Christmas Piper studied at Richmond School of Art and the Royal College of Art from 1926-8. In the mid 1930s, after a visit to Paris, he turned to abstraction. He became a member of the London Group in 1933 and the ‘Seven and Five’ group in 1934-5. During this period he became friends with Oliver Simon of the Curwen Press and his interest in lithography and print making grew. During the Second World War, Piper was appointed as an official war artist recording the effects of the blitz on Britain’s buildings. After the war, he became a Trustee of the Tate and National Galleries and in 1959 he became a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission. Piper is best known for his extensive studies of British architecture and landscape in oil, watercolour and print, and for his photography, stained glass, ceramics, fabric design, murals, stage sets and costume design. His work is held in many Museums and Galleries.