Piper, John: Irish Townscape


A lovely, atmospheric pen, ink and gouache sketch, signed and attractively framed. I am immensely grateful for the following description to Hugh Fowler-Wright, the well-known Piper collector, expert and writer who co-authored (with David Fraser Jenkins), ‘The Art of John Piper’, published by Unicorn and the Portland Gallery in 2015:

‘This sketch was most likely made when John Piper first visited Ireland in June 1938 with Myfanwy and hosts Laura and James Johnson Sweeney (art writer, curator at MOMA and later Director of the Guggenheim). They travelled and explored the country starting in Dublin where his friend John Betjeman was working. Heading for a holiday home in Donegal they took in a wide sway of Ireland from Cork in the south to Bundoran in the north. It was very much a holiday sketching trip although some oils of Georgian Irish country houses were finished back home and sent to be part of Piper’s one man exhibition with the Buchholtz Gallery NY in 1945. Piper returned to Ireland in subsequent decades to capture chapels, burial mounds, peat bogs, round houses, early carvings and crosses. In typical fashion Piper found similarities and commonality in aspects of the terrain and feel of parts of Ireland with other loved locations such as Pembrokeshire, Cornwall, Devon and internal Brittany.’

More images can be provided on request.

Artist: John Piper (British, 1903-1992), signed lower right

Title and date: Irish Townscape, 1937

Size: image size – 10.5 x 18.5 cms., framed size – 36 x 54 cms.


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.