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

Basilica of Maxentius, Colosseum and Arch of Titus

John Piper, C.H. (1903-1992)
Basilica of Maxentius, Colosseum and Arch of Titus
signed 'John Piper' (lower right)
oil on canvas
20 x 90 in. (50.8 x 228.6 cm.)
Purchased by the present owner's father at the 1962 exhibition, and by descent.
London, Arthur Jeffress Gallery, Paintings and Watercolours of Rome by John Piper, May 1962, no. 9.
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

Pippa Jacomb
Pippa Jacomb

Lot Essay

'The Piper was in Arthur Jefress’s gallery in Davies Street and my father went to see it the day before the Private View and said that he would like to buy it. That evening John Piper rang to make sure he still wanted it because the Tate Gallery also wished to acquire it. Piper was a childhood friend of my father’s and would often come to dinner. I remember Piper commenting on how much he enjoyed this painting, saying it was one of his best from this period' (private correspondence with the vendor, May 2018).

The current work was shown at Piper's second planned exhibition of Italian subjects (the first focussing on Venetian architecture) at the Mayfair gallery of the artist's dealer friend Arthur Jeffress (1905-1961). John Piper visited Rome - with the purpose of making drawings and sketches of the architecture of the city - in the early spring of 1961, meaning that this painting was likely to have been completed during the winter of 1961-62 in readiness for the show (see D. Fraser Jenkins and H. Fowler-Wright, The Art of John Piper, London, 2015, pp. 326-327, where the current lot appears to be mentioned as a 'panorama' featured in the exhibition).

Basilica of Maxentius, Colosseum and Arch of Titus (buildings within or in the vicinity of the Roman Forum) was one of the largest works listed in the exhibition catalogue, and its style and extravagantly oblong format is reminiscent of Piper's well-known Landscape of the Two Seasons, 1960 (P & O Art Collection, on long-term loan to the River and Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames). One of two other large format oil paintings of a related Roman subject from the 1962 show, The Forum, 1961 (42 x 60 in.) was purchased by the Tate Gallery.

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

Related Articles

View all
Spring fever auction at Christies

Spring fever

‘Made with imagination and dex auction at Christies
From Beaton to Warhol: artists auction at Christies

More from Modern British Art Day Sale

View All
View All