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John Piper, Myfanwy Piper Frances Spalding

John Piper, Myfanwy Piper By Frances Spalding

John Piper, Myfanwy Piper by Frances Spalding

Condition - Very Good
7 in stock


An exuberant biography of John Piper, one of the best loved and capacious English artists, and his wife the librettist Myfanwy Piper, friend of and collaborator with Benjamin Britten. Together they were at the heart of art, architecture, opera, and the reshaping of the perception of 'Englishness' in the mid-20th century.

John Piper, Myfanwy Piper Summary

John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art by Frances Spalding

This book is about a shared journey made by John and Myfanwy Piper who early on settled down in a small hamlet on the edge of the Chilterns, whence they proceeded to produce work which placed them centre stage in the cultural landscape of the twentieth century. Here, too, they fed and entertained many visitors, among them Kenneth Clark, John Betjeman, Osbert Lancaster, Benjamin Britten, and the Queen Mother. Their creative partnership encompasses not only a long marriage and numerous private and professional vicissitudes, but also a genuine legacy of lasting achievements in the visual arts, literature and music. Frances Spalding also sheds new light on the story of British art in the 1930s. In the middle of this decade John Piper and Myfanwy Evans (they did not marry until 1937) were at the forefront of avant-garde activities in England, Myfanwy editing the most advanced art magazine of the day and John working alongside Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, and others. But as the decade progressed and the political situation in Europe worsened, they changed their allegiances, John Piper investigating in his art a sense of place, belonging, history, memory, and the nature of national identity, all issues that are very much to the fore in today's world. Myfanwy Piper is best known as 'Golden Myfanwy', Betjeman's muse and for her work as librettist with Benjamin Britten. John Piper was an extraordinarily prolific artist in many media, his fertile career stretching over six decades and involving him in many changes of style. Having been an abstract painter in the 1930s, he became best known for his landscapes and architectural scenes in a romantic style. This core interest, in the English and Welsh landscape and the built environment, developed in him a sensibility that took in almost everything, from gin palaces to painted quoins, from ruined cottages to country houses, from Victorian shop fronts to what is nowadays called industrial archeology. His capacious and divided sensibility made him defender of many aspects of the English landscape and the built environment, while in his art he became an heir of that great tradition encompassing Wordsworth and Blake, Turner, Ruskin, and Samuel Palmer. He was torn between the pleasures of an abstract language liberated from time and place and those embedded in the locale, in buildings, geography, and history. Today, this expansive contradictoriness seems quintessentially modern, his divided response finding an echo in our own ambivalence towards modernity. Both Pipers created what seemed to many observers an ideal way of life, involving children, friendships, good food, humour, the pleasures of a garden, work, and creativity. Running through their lives is a fertile tension between a commitment to the new and a desire to reinvigorate certain native traditions. This tension produced work that is passionate and experimental. 'Only those who live most vividly in the present', John Russell observed of John and Myfanwy Piper, 'deserve to inherit the past'.

John Piper, Myfanwy Piper Reviews

Spalding's approach, sifting through and collating a vast quantity of material, has produced a valuable and deeply researched account of the Piper's life together... Ruth Guilding, Times Literary Supplement Frances Spalding recounts the histories of John and Myfanwy Piper, a couple at the centre of post-war art. Michael Prodger, Sunday Telegraph A remarkable achievement and ... an invaluable source book for Piper Enthusiasts for years to come. Andrew Lambirth, The Art Newspaper Commendably thorough. William Feaver, London Review of Books A valuable and deeply researched account of the piper's life together. Ruth Guilding, Times Literary Supplement Impeccably researched. Serena Davies, Daily Telegraph There are riches on offer beginning with Frances Spalding's substantial double biography. Sunday Times, 29.11.09 She has triumphantly knitted together all the multifarious Piper aspects. Roderic Dunnett, The Independent Brims over with insights and revelations. Times Higher Education, Timothy Mowl This timely book engenders optimism. Timothy Mowl, Times Higher Education Engrossing and scholarly study. Timothy Mowl, Times Higher Education Handsomely produced...Spalding's unrivalled knowledge of the Pipers' world captures the issues clearly, sharply. Michael White, The Tablet Excellent and expert biography...touches of judicious speculation and clear-sighted glosses. Spalding...presents us with fascinating and gripping biographical material, but also offers us vivid images of a now vanished England. Val Hennessy, Daily Mail Frances Spalding's copious and erudite biography of John and his art critic wife, Myfanwy, describes his art with considerable authority. Serena Davies, Sunday Telegraph A well-executed and meticulously researched work. Oxford University Press is to be congratulated on publishing this work on the scale the Pipers deserved. Bevis Hillier, The Spectator A fair verdict would be:..."this could not have been done better". Bevis Hillier, The Spectator Spalding comprehensively (but never tediously) covers his work in all its staggering versatility. Bevis Hillier, The Spectator Magnificent... Just occasionally, one comes across a book of which one can say, "This could not have been done better." Spalding's book is in that rare class. Bevis Hillier, The Spectator

Table of Contents

Preface; PART I; 1. John; 2. 'That's Painting!'; 3. Stained Glass and Coastal Gaiety; 4. Orchard's Angel; PART II; 5. Going Modern; 6. Axis; 7. Abstract and Concrete; 8. 'Look, Stranger, at this island now'; PART III; 9. New and shattered circumstances; 10. Decrepit Glory, Pleasing Decay; 11. 'The Weather in Our Souls'; 12. Fawley Bum; PART IV; 13. War Artist; 14. Stormy Weather; 15. Renishaw and the Sitwells; 16. Topographical mania; 17. Sly Liaisons; 18. Stern Watching and Mysterious Sympathy; PART V; 19. Return to Peace; 20. Working for the Stage and with Britten; 21. 'A firm shape among shadows'; 22. Cranko and Britten; 23. The Turn of the Screw; 24. Textiles, Mosaics, Murals, and early Stained Glass; 25. Coventry and Cranks; PART VI; 26. Ambiguous Venice; 27. Dark Glasses at Evensong; 28. Church Commissions; 29. Owen Wingrave; 30. Shell Guides; 31. Pottery, Tapestries, and Fireworks; 32. Death in Venice; PART VII; 33. Deaths and Entrances; 34. An English Garden; 35. Myfanwy

Additional information

John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art by Frances Spalding
Used - Very Good
Oxford University Press
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - John Piper, Myfanwy Piper