John Piper was one of the leading Modern British artists of the 20thcentury, best known for his paintings of Britain’s romantic heritage including churches, country houses and wartime ruins. In the post-war period Piper was also noted for his work as an accomplished designer of theatre sets, stained glass windows, and textiles. Through over 80 works, this major exhibition is the first to focus on John Piper’s textile designs, exploring key motifs in the artist’s work such as historic architecture, abstract and religious imagery, as well as subjects explored in the final years of the artist’s life, such as foliate heads, sunflowers and the church at Long Sutton. Shown alongside related paintings and other studies the exhibition demonstrates how Piper’s designs were intricately connected with his wider work.
Piper’s textile designs included furnishing fabrics for the post-war home for companies including Arthur Sanderson & Sons Ltd, scarves for Asher, ecclesiastical garments, and tapestries created for cathedrals and other public spaces. Marking the 50th anniversary of the installation of the artist’s celebrated altar tapestry in Chichester Cathedral, many of the studies for this important example of religious art will be shown alongside several of the Foliate Head tapestries woven to Piper’s designs at West Dean Tapestry Studio near Chichester. The exhibition will be accompanied by a new book by Simon Martin, with contributions by Frances Spalding.