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John Piper

John Piper, Milton Earnest Hall, 1977

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Artist Spotlight: John Piper

Saturday 13th June – Sunday 12th July 2015


John Piper was the first in a series of mini-exhibitions at The Higgins Bedford which cast a spotlight on artists in the Cecil Higgins Collection. Piper was one of the most important and diverse artists of the 20th century, famous for his paintings of churches, stately homes and romantic landscapes.

The gallery is lucky enough to have five fantastic pictures by Piper covering a period of forty years of his extraordinary career. Two of these works are new additions, kindly gifted to the gallery within in the last year. What makes these two prints stand out is the stunning depictions of buildings in Bedfordshire. Piper had a lifelong interest in architecture and it is fascinating to see his unique take on two of Bedfordshire’s most historic buildings.

Milton Ernest Hall made in 1977 depicts the only country house designed by the great Victorian architect William Butterfield. Now a nursing home, when Piper visited it was a country house hotel. The second print is of Willington Dovecote. The Dovecote along with its companion stables is the only building in Bedfordshire owned by the National Trust. It was built in the 1530’s by Sir John Gostwick using stone taken from local priories after the dissolution of the monasteries.

This was the first time these works have been displayed, and the first time all of the gallery’s Pipers have been on display.


Image Credit: Milton Ernest Hall, 1977 © John Piper Estate, all rights reserved, DACS 2015. Image courtesy of the Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery