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Bedford Square 17-john-piper-bedford-square.jpg

Bedford Square

Item Code: JP-17-u
Hand coloured etching with aquatint
Edition Size
Date of Work
Height (cm)
Width (cm)
Cat Rais No
Levinson 17
Brighton Aquatints
From the Brighton Aquatints suite. Hand coloured edition of 55.

Notes by the artist: Bedford Square.

A small square, opening onto the promenade at Hove, just east of Brunswick Terrace and the new Embassy Court building. The Regency houses are stuccoed, and some of them painted in pale yellows, greys and browns. Others are of unpainted stucco, and all their pale colours part and mingle like the counterpoint in the slow movement of a symphony. The verandas and awnings provide the decorative motif, and the bowed house-fronts themselves have an ebullience that suits the seaside scene. They are, in feeling, as near as English architecture ever is to the spirit of a Rowlandson print - a rare English spirit that combines health and heartiness with sense and elegance. On a misty October morning the beauty of shapes and colours in Bedford square takes the breath away. The yellow-grey mist; the sea begins to sparkle with prickly sunlight beyond, the fanciful bandstand on the promenade - even the Brighton Corporation lamp-standard has a suitable gaiety.
John Piper PortraitJohn Piper was born at Epsom in Surrey, 1903. Following his father’s wishes, he spent 5 years in the family law firm before pursuing art, firstly at Richmond School of Art and then at the Royal College of Art. In the 1930s Piper exhibited abstract pictures and constructions, then reverted to creating landscape and architectural images, developing the picturesque style that features in his later work.

Piper experimented with printmaking from as early as 1923 when he produced four wood engravings. Piper’s prints embody his love of Britain through their depiction of its art, architecture and topography. However frequently underpinning their design, as the artist Rigby Graham has indicated, are the elements of collage, construction and assemblage that featured in his modernist work of the early 1930s.
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