Piper is an intriguing figure, not least because his work is so varied and, it has to be said, uneven. Looking through 'Piper's Places', the book he put together with Richard Ingrams towards the end of his (Piper's) life, I was struck by this. You'd go from a beautifully detailed, atmospheric drawing of a country church to a scribbled sketch of some piece of coastline that had evidently caught his fancy at a particular moment, in a particular light perhaps, or with clouds looming.
|Eric Ravilious, Newhaven Harbour (litho), 1937|
|Edward Bawden, Newhaven, 1935|
Later: the extra money was found and Towner now owns both pictures - once again the Art Fund has helped a museum buy work which is both popular and important.