John Piper C.H. (British, 1903-1992) Milton Abbas 12.6 x 17.6 cm. (5 x 7 in.)
Lot 26AR
John Piper C.H. (British, 1903-1992) Milton Abbas (Dorset) 12.6 x 17.6 cm. (5 x 7 in.)
£6,000 - 8,000
US$ 9,500 - 13,000

Lot Details
John Piper C.H. (British, 1903-1992)
Milton Abbas (Dorset)
signed 'John Piper' (lower left)
watercolour, chalk, ink and gouache
12.6 x 17.6 cm. (5 x 7 in.)
Executed circa 1940

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    With New Art Centre, London, 10 January 1977, where purchased by the present owner

    The present work is a study for the rare 1940 oil painting that was sold in these rooms on 8 November 2007 for £74,400.

    By the beginning of 1940, and in contrast to his purely abstract pictures in the late 1930s, Piper was almost solely devoted to recording important and historical architectural sites throughout England. Now a small and exclusive school, the history of Milton Abbey in Milton Abbas can be traced back to over one thousand years when the original church was founded in c.933 by King Athelstan of Wessex to commemorate the death of his brother. After its secular priests were removed by King Edgar in 964 the building supported a group of Benedictine monks for centuries. During this time they made additions to the architecture including a wooden bell tower. The building reached its present size at the turn of the 15th century after it was destroyed by fire in the early 14th century.

    Executed the same year as he became an official war artist, the present work is almost identical in composition to the oil painting which would form part of Piper's first solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries and act as a catalyst for future public acclaim. The concentration of light here is primarily focused on the abbey, which is set off against a dark and imposing sky, infusing the work with an almost theatrical quality.
Auction information

Bonhams' November sale achieved a number of high profile records, including the highest price in London that week within a sale of Modern British Art - Allies by Lawrence Holofcener fetched an impressive £409,250. The department are especially proud to have secured a new world auction record for Walter Richard Sickert. Painted circa 1904, Woman in Profile with Downcast Eyes was discovered in Australia and following intense bidding realized £229,250. Irish Art fared well too, with Paul Henry's charming Old-Age Pensioners going for £109,250 while Colin finding Irish buyers.

The next auction will take place on 29 May and closes for entry in April. Already consigned are museum quality works that are fresh to market by LS Lowry, FE McWilliam and Edward Seago, among others.

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