Piper, John: Foliate Head – SOLD


A superb etching and screenprint in lovely condition, numbered 81 0f 100, framed. The ‘foliate head’ or ‘Green Man’ was an image to which John Piper returned time and again, he produced 9 variations as limited edition prints but this is our favourite, not least as most depictions of the Green Man are male but surely the left hand head here shows a Green Woman?

The Green Man is a legendary being primarily interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, representing the cycle of new growth that occurs every spring. Carvings of the Green Man take many forms and are usually referred to in architecture as foliate heads or foliate masks. The simplest depict a man’s face peering out of dense foliage, some may have leaves for hair, perhaps with a leafy beard with leaves or leafy shoots growing from his open mouth, nose and eyes.

More images can be provided on request.

Artist: John Piper (British, 1903-1992)

Title and date: Foliate Head, 1983, (Levinson 368)

Size: 45.8 x 57.7 cms.

Out of stock


Artist description:

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 1930a, 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.