The E-BNR aims to build a comprehensive & unique cross-artform guide to
the British neo-Romantic tradition,
from 1880 to the present day.
While the British Romantics of 1789-1824 have spawned a vast industry of
publishers, conferences & tourism, the later neo-Romantic traditions
remain largely neglected. The E-BNR is aimed at bringing this hidden
tradition to light.
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WHAT IS NEO-ROMANTICISM ?
Neo-Romantic artists have drawn their inspiration
from artists of the age of Romanticism or earlier.
Characteristic themes in their work include a
mystical approach to the British landscape...
ENTRY: Piper, John
John Egerton Christmas Piper, C.H.
(b. December 13, 1903 – d. June 28, 1992) was a well-known 20th century
He was born in Epsom, the son of a solicitor. He schooled at Epsom College,
and trained at the Richmond School of Art followed by the Royal College of Art.
He was primarily a painter, but collaborated with many others including the
poet and author John Betjeman (on the Shell Guides series of
guidebooks on the British Isles), the potter Geoffrey Eastop, and the
artist Ben Nicholson.
He also wrote extensively on art both as books and articles and co-founded
(with his wife Myfanwy) Axis, which ran for eight issues and promoted
abstraction in art. He largely withdrew from his use of abstraction early in his career,
and concentrated on a more naturalistic but very distinctive approach. Piper was greatly interested in melancholic ruins, a potent theme in Romanticism, and
one that ultimately reaches back to Anglo-Saxon poetry. During the war
he explored most fully the romantic vein in English art
(see his British Romantic Artists, 1942) and, along with others, was instrumental in refreshing ideas
of Englishness and the English landscape in art.
His work focused mainly on the British landscape, especially churches,
and he spent much of his life studying the buildings he depicted.
He designed the stained glass windows for the new Coventry Cathedral
as well as many smaller churches and created tapestries for the
Chichester Cathedral. He also worked on stage designs for Benjamin Britten
After the war he was also a set designer for the theatre, including the Kenton Theatre in Henley.
Having extablished himself as an artist, her also undertook
photography (see A Painter's Camera: buildings and landscapes in Britain 1935-1985)
A hugely versatile artist, in his later years he produced many limited edition prints. He has had
major exhibitions at the Tate Gallery in 1983–1984 and more recently
(and posthumously), the Dulwich Picture Gallery (covering the 1930s),
the Imperial War Museum (covering the 1940s) and, closer to his home,
the River and Rowing Museum and the Museum of Reading.
Ingrams, Richard & Piper, John. Piper's Places: John Piper in England and Wales (1983)
A Painter's Camera : buildings and landscapes in Britain 1935-1985 (1987)
John Piper: 50 years of work - paintings, drawings and photographs 1929-1979 (1979)