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John Piper, C.H. (1903-1992)
John Piper, C.H. (1903-1992)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
John Piper, C.H. (1903-1992)

Wells Cathedral

John Piper, C.H. (1903-1992)
Wells Cathedral
signed 'John Piper' (lower right)
watercolour, ink, gouache and chalk on paper, lightly squared for transfer
21 ½ x 29 in. (54.6 x 73.6 cm.)
Executed circa 1960.
Purchased by the family of the present owner, circa the late 1990s.
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

Brought to you by

Albany Bell
Albany Bell Head of Sale

Lot Essay

John Piper’s occasional depictions of England’s great Medieval cathedrals are less common than the paintings and drawings of remote country churches, but are similarly stylish and evocative.

Wells Cathedral is a mid-career work, probably dating from the 1960s. In this instance, by resisting the temptation to colour or otherwise over-dramatise the sky and foreground, Piper gives centre-stage to the architectural beauty and impact of the west front of the building. John Buckler (1770-1851) in his major early nineteenth century aquatint view of this cathedral (of which Piper was undoubtedly aware, and with which the view in the current lot has many similarities) did the same. With an impressive economy (relying on abbreviation and mere suggestion rather than a more slavish and detailed use of pen and brush) John Piper has conjured up the force, complexity and unity of his architectural subject whilst achieving an appropriately light, lyrical feel.

We are very grateful to Rev. Dr Stephen Laird FSA for preparing this catalogue entry.

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