John Piper Gallery

Painting in Coloured Light: The modern stained glass designs of John Piper

This exciting new display shines a spotlight on Piper’s lifelong passion for stained glass, influenced by the medieval windows he encountered from childhood.

The centrepiece is Piper’s vibrant ‘cartoon’ or design for Farnborough Church, West Berkshire, which he created in memory of his close friend and collaborator Sir John Betjeman – the last of the stained glass windows he designed before he died in 1992. Recently beautifully conserved, the cartoon’s rich colours have been brought back to life, enabling us to get a close-up view of Piper’s creative techniques.

Piper experimented with stained glass design later in life, creating more than 60 windows after the age of 50. From local parish churches to Coventry Cathedral, he pushed the boundaries of this longstanding art form and pioneered an exciting blend of ancient and modern techniques.

We’re no operating a pre-booking system. Walk-up tickets are available on the door for visits during opening hours Thursday to Monday 10am to 4pm. Please contact the Museum directly with any queries in advance of your visit

John Piper is one of Britain’s most prolific and versatile artists of the 20th Century. From his home and studio at Fawley Bottom, on the edge of Henley on Thames, he produced work that crossed creative boundaries.

Piper refused to be defined by a style or artistic movement and constantly experimented, collaborated and explored new ways of working. He has become known as a Neo-Romantic artist but was also one of Britain’s leading abstract painters and a dedicated modernist. He was an abstract artist, drawing inspiration from Turner and medieval stained glass, a Romantic with a penchant for geometrical forms, as well as a Mediaevialist and dedicated church crawler, asking to be taken out to churches from the age of 12.

Just outside Henley, Piper built a pottery and a studio large enough to create full sized designs for stained glass windows. He worked across an extraordinary range of artistic and cultural fields, collaborating with poets, makers, and writers including John Betjeman, Benjamin Britten, and Patrick Reyntiens. With some of the most renowned artists of the time, such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, John Piper led the way in bringing modern and abstract art to Britain.

Our John Piper Gallery features works from private and public collections that showcase Piper’s outstanding ability to diversify from paintings and drawings to stained glass and ceramics.

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