John Piper

John Piper CH 1903 - 1992


John Piper CH was an English painter, printmaker and designer of stained-glass windows and theatre sets. His work often focused on the British landscape, especially churches and monuments, and included tapestry designs, book jackets, screen-prints, photography, fabrics and ceramics. He was educated at Epsom College and trained at the Richmond School of Art, followed by the Royal College of Art in London. He turned from abstraction early in his career, concentrating on a more naturalistic but distinctive approach. He was an official war artist in World War II. 


From 1950 Piper began working in stained glass in partnership with Patrick Reyntiens, whom he had met through John Betjeman. Their first completed commission, for the chapel at Oundle School, led to Basil Spence commissioning them to design the stained-glass Baptistry window for the new Coventry Cathedral. They produced an abstract design that occupies the full height of the bowed baptistry, and comprises 195 panes, ranging from white to deep blue. Piper and Reyntiens went on to design large stained-glass windows for the Chapel of Robinson College, Cambridge, and "The Land Is Bright", a large window in the Washington National Cathedral, as well as windows for many smaller churches.


Piper created tapestries for Chichester Cathedral, Hereford Cathedral and Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff. Piper had previously made working visits to south Wales in both 1936 and 1939 and for several years, between 1943 and 1951, he would also make an annual painting trip to Snowdonia.


Public Collections including;

The Tate Collection; Dulwich Picture Gallery, London; Imperial War Museum; Dorchester Abbey; National Museum of Wales; Museum of Modern Art, New York, Jerwood Gallery, Sussex.