John Piper's Snowdonia pictures, produced between 1943-1950 (the present is one of the earlier examples), have found more universal and consistent acclaim than works characterising any other single period of the artist's varied career. The series was the focus of an important 2012 exhibition John Piper: The Mountains of Wales (National Museum, Cardiff). These paintings and drawings were first exhibited as a group at Curt Valentin's Buchholz Gallery, New York in 1948, with a second show in 1950. In the introduction to the catalogue which accompanied the Cardiff exhibition David Fraser Jenkins writes 'It was in Snowdonia in the years after the war that John Piper made what many people have thought were the best of all his paintings, in a series that became a graphic exploration of the mountains ... Most of his pictures were drawings rather than paintings, and began as notes in a sketchbook made on the spot in ink with pen and brush'. The Snowdonia works can easily be located within the continuum of the Romantic tradition of British landscape painting whose luminaries Richard Wilson, John Sell Cotman, David Cox and John Ruskin have been referred to by those who have described and commented upon them, including the artist himself in his own writings.
We are very grateful to Rev. Dr Stephen Laird FSA for preparing this catalogue entry.