John Piper was an English painter, graphic artist, designer and writer. He had a long and diverse career but is particularly noted for his paintings of architectural views, especially of churches and stately homes.
Piper gained recognition as an abstract artist in the early part of his career, but he soon became disillusioned with non-representational art. By the end of the 1930s he had reverted to naturalism.
In 1940 he was appointed an official war artist and painted bomb-damaged building in London, Bristol, Coventry and Bath. He worked swiftly and often when the buildings were still on fire. After the war he was commissioned to design stained-glass windows for the new Coventry Cathedral.
Somerset Place, Bath, 1942, was painted following three nights of bombing in the city. It depicts an isolated night scene and is among the first of his paintings to achieve the theatrical lighting effects typical of his later work.