River & Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames


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Tree of Life
The River & Rowing Museum presents regular special exhibitions. An exhibition on the 20th century British artist John Piper (1903-1992), who lived at Fawley Bottom near Henley-on-Thames, in association with the (New) Bohun Gallery, was held in 2000.

The Tree of Life (1977) cannot be displayed in the exhibition itself as originally planned due to its fragility and large size. Therefore it is included for viewing on the website. If you have a fast Internet connection or are prepared to wait, a high resolution image (300Kbytes) is available. Further selected examples of rarely seen John Piper artworks are available below. An accompanying booklet with a fuller catalogue of artworks on display is available from the museum.

Date Event
18 March - 4 June 2000
(Part until 9 July 2000)
Exhibition: John Piper - Master of Diversity.
Ceramics, collage, photography, stained glass and painting unfold the breadth of Piper's diversity.
15 May - 11 July 2000 Associated exhibition at the Bohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames.
16 May Lecture: John Piper - Master of Diversity.
Orde Levinson, author of Catalogue Raisonné, examines the inspiration for John Piper's work, with specific reference to the works on display.

Selected catalogue entries

Still Life with China Tea 2 - Still Life with China Tea - 1933

Signed in yellow ink lower right John Piper and dated on reverse
Gouache with doilies used as stencils
47.6 × 38.1cm
Exhibited Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, May 1979, cat. no. 4;
Waddington Galleries, January 1994, cat. no. 4
Illustrated Anthony West, plate 12

Brittany Beach Abstract 13 - Brittany Beach Abstract - 1963

Watercolour, collage and mixed media
57 × 78.4cm
Piper's first one-man show at Marlborough Fine Art in 1963 was largely based on the studies he was making around the rocky shores of Brittany, Anglesey and Pembrokeshire. This painting relates closely to the pictures in that exhibition.

Tivetshall St. Mary, Norfolk 23 - Tivetshall St. Mary, Norfolk - before 1983

Bears inscription on reverse of frame, TIVETSHAL ST MARY, Norfolk (sic) and Beaux Arts Gallery, Bath, label on stretcher. Oil on canvas
71.2 × 91.3cm
A photograph of Piper in his studio with this painting in 1983, is in Orde Levinson, 1996, p 15.

Foliate Head 49 - Foliate Head - c. 1970s

Gouache and watercolour wash
50.8 × 60.7cm
This is possibly the preparatory design for a tapestry rug representing the four seasons which was produced in a limited edition of ten. One of the series was in use at Fawley Bottom Farmhouse and is illustrated in June Osborne, fig. 60, p 83.

Tree of Life 82 - The Tree of Life · Cartoon for a window at Charing Cross Hospital Chapel, London - 1977

Inscribed in black felt tip on reverse, Tree of Life/Charing Cross Hospital/1980 Gouache, collage, ink and mixed media
294 × 152cm
Lit: June Osborne, p 112, completed work illustrated, p 114
Illustrated on the Internet: www.rrm.co.uk/piper

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Books on John Piper

Title Author Date
John Piper David Fraser Jenkins 1992
Quality and Experiment:
The Prints of John Piper
(Catalogue raisonné)
Orde Levinson 1996
John Piper and Stained Glass June Osborne 1997
John Piper:
Master of Diversity
(ISBN 0-9535571-1-0)
Laura Wortley 2000

The Museum is an Amazon.co.uk (UK/European sales) and Amazon.com (USA/worldwide sales) Associate and will receive a proportion of on-line book sales.

See also other publications available from the museum shop.

Acknowledgement: Photographs Copyright © 2000 Seb Piper

Further information from museum@rrm.co.uk