John Piper, the son of a solicitor, was born in Epsom in 1903 and died in 1992. He was educated at Epsom College and trained at the Richmond School of Art, followed by the Royal College of Art in London (1926-28). His career spanned over sixty years and encompassed a huge range of artistic media including print making, painting, drawing, book illustration, photography, stained glass windows, fabric design, murals, stage sets and costume design.
He is most readily associated with his prints and paintings of the romantic heritage of Britain. Piper explored and painted rural Britain throughout his life (a passion that started with bicycle adventures in his native Surrey as a boy) fascinated by vernacular, ecclesiastical and architecture in general. In his printmaking he frequently took as his subject matter abbeys and churches, houses, castles and cottages, piers, beaches and harbours.
His style is a unique mix of quintessential Englishness (in the tradition of Gilpin and Turner) with a commitment to the modern and abstract movements that were emerging as he left art school. His style is dramatic and romantic, combining rich passages of colour, calligraphic line and experimental textures with a dazzling freedom of expression.