John Piper's Mountains of Wales on show

Wednesday 15 February 2012, 10:25

Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain

Works by the British 20th century artist John Piper depicting some of Snowdonia's most breathtaking landscapes have gone on show at the National Museum Wales, Cardiff.

Surrey-born Piper is noted for his drawings and paintings of landscape and architecture as well as abstract compositions, still life, ceramics and designs for stained glass and tapestry.

This new exhibition of Piper's paintings and drawings of Wales are taken from a private collection.

Rocky Valley, North Wales, 1948, oil and gesso on canvas, private collection © The John Piper Estate

Rocky Valley, North Wales, 1948, oil and gesso on canvas, private collection © The John Piper Estate

Piper trained at the Richmond and Kingston Schools of Art, and later at the Royal College of Art.

His first major painting trip to Wales was in 1936 when he visited Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire.

Yet his initial significant encounter with north Wales was a result of his role as an official war artist during World War Two, as in 1943 he was tasked with recording the interior of Manod Mawr quarry by the War Artists Advisory Committee.

Rocks at Capel Curig, about 1950, ink, watercolour and gouache on paper, private collection © The John Piper Estate

Rocks at Capel Curig, about 1950, ink, watercolour and gouache on paper, private collection © The John Piper Estate

In a period of around 15 years in the 1940s and 50s, Piper lived and worked intermittently in north Wales, and rented two cottages Pentre and Bodesi in the Snowdonia area.

During his time there he recorded the mountains of Wales in a group of works which are among his greatest artistic achievements.

In this new exhibition 29 works are from the private collection, and 36 works in all are on display.

Jagged Rocks under Tryfan, 1949-50, ink, watercolour and gouache on paper, private collection © The John Piper Estate

Jagged Rocks under Tryfan, 1949-50, ink, watercolour and gouache on paper, private collection © The John Piper Estate

John Piper: The Mountains of Wales is on display at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff until Sunday 13 May 2012.

The exhibition will be touring to Oriel y Parc in St David's, Mostyn in Llandudno and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester in 2012-2013.

The Rise of the Dovey, 1943-44, oil on gessoed canvas mounted on board, private collection © The John Piper Estate

The Rise of the Dovey, 1943-44, oil on gessoed canvas mounted on board, private collection © The John Piper Estate

In conjunction with the exhibition Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales is organising a trip to Snowdonia where participants will be able to follow in the artist's footsteps with art and geology curators, and see some of the points at which Piper painted some of his dramatic landscapes.

Tickets for the tour cost £10 per person and booking is essential. For more information on the trip visit the National Museum Wales website.

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