Seaton Delaval Hall is a baroque stately home in Northumberland, built by John Vanbrugh from 1718-29. In 1822 a great fire destroyed much of the hall, the effects of which were still visible when Piper visited in 1941. He linked the damage he saw to the blitz, describing it as ‘Ochre and flame-licked red, pock-marked and stained in purplish umber and black, the colour is extremely up-to-date: very much of our times’.
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas on wood 71 x 88 cm © Tate
A significant British twentieth-century artist, John Piper is known for his poetic depictions of the British landscape. Born in Epsom, Surrey, Piper began studying art in 1927 at The Richmond College of Art and then at the Royal College of Art. His early work reflected the trend for abstraction and was influenced by his frequent trips to Paris where he befriended the artist Alexander Calder. He worked across an extraordinary range of disciplines including designs for stained glass and theatre sets yet his powerful and romantic paintings of the British landscape are considered his most iconic work.