Piper, John: Aberayron, South Wales
A stunning original mixed media painting in excellent condition, a detailed interpretation is presented below. The original high quality gilt framed has been retained, the painting has been professionally cleaned, imaginatively remounted and provided with conservation-quality glass.
An exhibition label is present on the rear for Achim Moeller Ltd., a gallery at 8 Grosvenor Street, London, W1 which was established in 1972. The label confirms the original English spelling of Aberayron (as opposed to the Welsh Aberaeron).
I am grateful to Hugh-Fowler Wright for the following interpretation of the painting, Hugh is the author, with David Fraser Jenkins, of ‘The Art of John Piper’, 2016, and with Alan Powers, of ‘Piper in Print: John Piper’s Books, Periodicals, Ephemera and Textiles’, 2010.
‘John Piper produced some lively ‘on the spot’ collages, atmospheric photographs and rugged mixed media depictions of Aberayron, mainly from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. Here Piper looks across at the cluster of buildings on the northern side of the harbour with the harbour walls turning a corner in the lower left of the picture and the water in the foreground referenced by cursory white squiggles. A splash of blue top left indicates the roof of the old Harbourmaster’s House, now a hotel, and the top right shows the apex of the Tabernacle Chapel on Market Street.
Buildings relating to and influenced by coastal activity, such as the Harbourmaster’s House, were lucidly written about by Piper in his article in the Architectural Review of January 1938 entitled ‘The Nautical Style’, and the architecture and personality of Welsh Chapels were covered at length by him in his piece ‘Nonconformist Architecture‘ in the Architectural Review of December 1940.
In 1954 Piper was actively working on his first stained glass commission for Oundle School Chapel and in this fully worked up sketch, thoughts of stained glass influence Piper’s focus on slabs of colour, blocks of building and ‘lead’ lines. This style of painting was to develop in the following few years to much larger abstracted landscapes – including buildings – composed of carefully balanced areas of colour and tone in flat perspective grid-like surfaces’.
More images can be provided on request.
Artist: John Piper (British, 1903-1992), signed.
Title and date: Aberayron, South Wales, 1954
Size: 25.4 x 33.7 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 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.