John Piper
  • Abstract in blue and red -
    Price on request

    Cartoon for the Baptistery window at Coventry Cathedral

    Numbered: P.138

    Gouache, collage and watercolour with ink and wax resist, 41 by 20 ins (104 by 50 cm)

    Provenance: the Wessex Hotel, Winchester



    In the morning of 15th November 1940, Piper arrived in the devistated shell of the old Coventry Cathedral in his capacity as an offical War Artist recording the effects of bomb damage. So it was over a decade an a half later that Piper received one of the most important commissions of his life, returning to that same site as one of the most significant artists involved in the cathedral?s triumphant re-building. Alongside the stained glass artist Patrick Renytiens, Piper worked in the late 1950s and early 1960s on a collossall window for the cathedral?s baptistery, made up of numerous panels and symbolising in sublime abstract form an explosion, or what Piper himself referred to as ?a blaze of light signifying the Holy Spirit?. The windows not only stand as one of the very greatest examples of their type in the post-war era, but Piper?s designs are in their own right great abstract works, influenced by the artist?s own response to Post-War abstraction and heralding an extremely productive phase of abstract painting that was to characterise much of his most outstanding work in the following decade.


  • The Prince of the Pagodas -
    Price on request

    Watercolour, gouache and wax resist with collage, 40 by 73 cm

    This is Piper's original design for the backdrop for the first production of Benjamin Britten's only ballet, The Prince of Pagodas, first performed by English Ballet in 1956. The partnership between Piper and Britten was one of the most important musical-artistic collaborations in twentieth century England.

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