Skip to content

‘A Betjemanism in Paint’: The ‘Seeing Eye’ of John Piper

April 9, 2014

Stranded at Whittington Station, in provincial Shropshire, in 1939 the artist John Piper and his friend, the poet John Betjeman, pondered their Victorian surroundings. This apparently habitual and quaint example of nineteenth-century railway architecture still held, for Piper and Betjeman at least, more than a hint of the past glories of Victoriana. Set amongst the modern detritus of the twentieth-century, ‘only the little railway station remains to tell us of the age’, wrote Betjeman in an article for the Architectural Review. This piece, ‘The Seeing Eye, or How to Like Everything’, a collaboration in which Piper supplied the illustrations, was above all a didactic lesson in the connoisseurship of what was ostensibly the inexcusably ordinary. This was not just limited to the railway station at Whittington, which Piper sketched (See below), but so too ‘the doctor’s Italianate house in the suburb, the Gothic gate-lodge, the Baptist Chapel, the decaying Victorian terrace in the Spa… the architecture which we have all seen, but not bothered about’. ‘Mr. Piper has resurrected it’, wrote Betjeman:

Mr. Piper has turned neglected styles into something beautiful and peculiar to himself. Instead of despairing of what we have always been told is ugly and meretricious, he has accepted it at its façade value and brought it to life. This has made us look a second time without any sense of satire, moral indignation or aesthetic horror. He has done the job of the artist.

Whittington Station, by John Piper

Whittington Station (1939)

Indeed, these two men, the poet and the painter, exemplified and articulated the virtue of the second-look – teaching their fellow countrymen to rediscover, reappraise and appreciate the fabric of their architectural inheritance. This was Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’. But it was also, as the writer Geoffrey Grigson suspected, observing Piper’s newfound preference for the bourgeois vulgarities of the Anglican middle-class, ‘a reaction, a return, a rejection, an unwelcome kind of exclusion and coming clean, a Betjemanism in paint’. The critic Robin Ironside was more precise, identifying Piper as, ‘by temperament, [the] most in tune with the national heritage’, but also accusing him of ‘a too persistent cultivation of the by-paths of our art history’. Antony West writes that, ‘The importance of the thing seen in the poet’s work strengthened Piper’s developing sense of the legitimacy, and the propriety, of maintaining a relationship between the visible stuff “out there” that held so much meaning for him and the created images of his work.’ To what extent were Grigson’s and Ironside’s identifications of Piper’s worship of the past correct and in tune with Betjeman’s account of the ‘Seeing Eye’? Was Piper truly a Betjemanism in paint?

It was Candida Lycett Green, the daughter of Betjeman, who once recalled how the two Johns were believed to have ‘betrayed the modern movement with their liking of the provinces, of old churches and tea-shops’. Indeed, Charles Harrison considers Betjeman and Piper as joint purveyors of the ‘neo-picturesque’, to be set apart from that of the ‘neo-romantic’. While ‘“neo-romanticism” was compatible with an attenuated Surrealism’, the ‘“neo-picturesque” involved a nostalgic reinstatement of just that Victorian bourgeois manner which the Surrealists had so often parodied’. Indeed, ‘Betjemanism’ as a simple reinstatement of ‘neo-picturesque’ values would not be an entirely inaccurate conclusion. It was after perusing Betjeman’s compilation, English, Scottish and Welsh Landscapes, that Piper took it upon himself to steal the commission for the illustration of the work from a notable Neo-Romantic artist. ‘It came over me after you had gone’, Piper wrote to Betjeman, ‘that the anthology was the best of its kind ever made and that Graham Sutherland would miss the point’. Certainly, founded upon their first collaboration on the Shell Guides, Piper and Betjeman have been viewed as congruent forces, sharing a corresponding orbit of interests and associations. Richard Ingrams noted that it was ‘impossible to distinguish Betjeman from Piper on the Shell Shropshire. They observe and write as one person.’ A.N. Wilson, Betjeman’s biographer, concludes of their relationship that, ‘There is no doubt that they were catalysts to another and that their best work was stimulated by their friendship.’ And above all, this mutual responsiveness, what we may arguably term Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’, was kindled by Betjemanism: an acute, and shared, vision of a past, irretrievable England.

A.N. Wilson writes that Betjeman’s name is ‘synonymous with many people’s idea of England itself’. Betjeman ‘spoke for England’. And, most of all, it was a collective sense of the overbearing weight of history that most stirred the two Johns. It was, wrote J.B. Priestley in 1934, in an English Journey, their nation’s most sticky idiosyncrasy: ‘We stagger beneath our inheritance.’ The England of Piper and Betjeman was undoubtedly Priestley’s ‘Old England’, a ‘country of cathedrals and minsters and manor houses and inns, of Parson and Squire; guide-book and quaint highways and byways England’. It was an England that, if it ever existed at all, had not survived the barbarities of 1914-1918. But, as Priestley hinted, with the use of a map, a guide-book and a motor car, it might still be found. Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’ would be, in this manner, an act of reclamation. However, as Frances Spalding has noted, particularly of Piper, within this nostalgia was an ‘unlocated melancholy’. This very much chimes with Wilson’s account of Betjeman, too, of a man riddled by ‘morbid guilt’ and ‘self-doubt’ all his life, and ‘like many melancholics… of a very religious temperament’. Indeed, ‘Summoned by Bells’ to modest churches, though never secure in his own faith, it was rather the ‘sea of pews’, the ‘carven wood’ and ‘these grey memorial’d walls’ that spoke most of all to Betjeman:

‘Twas not, I think, a conscious search for God
That brought me to these dim forgotten fanes.
Largely it was a longing for the past,
With a sense of something unfulfilled.

Born into an Edwardian idyll, ‘safe, in a world of trains and buttered toast’, as Betjeman recalled in his autobiographical Summoned by Bells, it was his and Piper’s good fortune to be born just too late to be killed in the Great War. However, unable to participate, this was also their singular misfortune. Their trauma was to see the results coming in:

Before the hymn the Skipper would announce
The latest names of those who’d lost their lives
For King and Country and the Dragon School.
Sometimes his gruff old voice was full of tears
When a particular favourite had been killed.

Spalding’s ‘unlocated melancholy’ might in fact be very locatable, and, indeed, offers an explanation for the psychology of Piper’s and Betjeman’s friendship. Antony West writes that Piper ‘gained a great deal from this intimate working association with a poet who, whatever his carefully maintained public persona and his lighter verse may suggest to the contrary, combines a profound seriousness with a refined sensibility’. Their mutual ‘aesthetic maturation’ went hand in hand with a ‘stabilisation of their hierarchies of values’. When Piper sketched the station at Whittington in 1939, upon the eve of yet another war, he was recording for posterity a relic of an age which Betjeman sincerely believed to be one of greater security: ‘Safe were those evenings of the pre-war world.’ All Piper’s sketch lacked was some ‘buttered toast’. Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’ complimented Betjeman’s Edwardian world’s view. And as Betjeman later remarked: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever felt so confident as I did with Mr Piper.’

Betjeman was a ‘preservationist by instinct’, writes A.N. Wilson, and as early as the 1930s he was seen to be the ‘natural saviour of threatened architecture’. And a major component part of Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’ was its complimentary attitude to Betjeman’s reverence of historical edifices – particularly those of a clerical nature. In 1981 Betjeman’s Church Poems was published, an anthology of the poet’s most accomplished ecclesiastical-related verse. With accompanying sketches by Piper, many of the poems and images were penned on his and Piper’s expeditions to parish churches for the Shell Guides over the previous decades. For both men, provincial churches were the chief architectural expressions of their nation’s past. ‘Without a church’, wrote Betjeman in the preface to Church Poems, ‘I think a place lacks its heart and identity’. With the aid of Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’, and in a time of declining faith, prompted by industrialisation, Betjeman reintroduced the nation to its great neglected inheritance. And as Richard Ingrams, a friend of Betjeman and Piper, later remarked, the two Johns ‘did more to teach Englishmen to love their churches and their Church than anything or anyone in modern times’. Piper’s art, his ‘Seeing Eye’, did much to facilitate this achievement. Both profoundly dedicated to Anglicanism, Betjeman urged his fellow countrymen to share in his and Piper’s communion with the past. A church was a reliquary of objects – church building, furnishings, liturgy, and even tombstones – all tangible links to what had passed before, of English craftsmanship, as Betjeman made clear in his poem ‘Churchyards’:

But this I know, you’re sure to find
Some headstones of the Georgian kind
In each old churchyard near and far,
Just go and see how fine they are.
[…]
Our churches are our history shown
In wood and glass and iron and stone.

For ‘Churchyards’ Piper supplied two simple sketches of tombstones in churchyards, one of which was of his own local parish church at Fawley, Buckinghamshire. The elegiac tombstone, weather-beaten yet still exquisite, was for Piper, too, a neglected record of the antecedent. The ‘Seeing Eye’ focused in upon disregarded treasures, attracted not solely by aesthetic adornment or any proposed exploration of faith, but by a perceived congenital pedigree. In Tombstones at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Hinton-in-the-Hedges, Northants, September 1939 (See below) the ‘Seeing Eye’ can be seen to be in full effect, but in more emotive detail than in the ‘Churchyard’ poem illustrations. One of Piper’s finest watercolours, produced for Kenneth Clark’s Recording Britain scheme, Tombstones at Holy Trinity Churchyard, displaying sullen skulls and strategically-placed cherubs, demanded a second-look. The ‘Seeing Eye’ was indeed an act of veneration, one which bestrode both the secular and the numinous; perhaps an attempted assuagement of Betjeman’s sense of ‘something unfulfilled’. Yet vitally, Piper’s and Betjeman’s self-appointed charge of recording Britain was a product, too, of a consciousness that such objects of devotion were now under mortal threat – from the Luftwaffe in 1939, but also an iconoclastic modernity.

Tombstones at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Hinton-in-the-Hedges, Northants (1939)

Tombstones at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Hinton-in-the-Hedges, Northants (1939)

In 1938, in a contribution to Art in England, John Summerson submitted ‘The Premises Coming Down’, bemoaning ‘the wholesale demolition of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century London’ by building developers. Highlighting the example of All Hallows, Lombard Street – a church attributed to Sir Christopher Wren – soon to be demolished in 1939, by verdict of the Privy Council, Summerson fought to defend England’s most precious architectural heirlooms. All Hallows, wrote Summerson, was ‘what was left of the parish church tradition after merciless revision by puritan intellectualism’. Modernity represented, to Summerson, a criminally reckless repudiation of the past, ‘a process so rapid and arbitrary that many a fine building disappears before there has been time even to secure measured and photographic records’. Betjeman’s poems, and Piper’s images, relating particularly to ecclesiastical and Georgian landscapes, were very much in league with Summerson, and attempted to catalogue, if not successfully save, what was thought to be worthy of reverence – ‘not out of dull sentiment’, wrote Summerson, ‘but because a civilisation which is scientifically, and therefore historically, minded rightly sets a value on the cultural expression of its antecedents’.

Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’ was very much a physical manifestation of this articulation. Indeed, Brian Foss, in War Paint, a study of British war art, 1939-45, cites Piper in particular as the chief representative of the ‘qualities of pre-modernist buildings – their evocation of history, their status as sources of inspiration and meaning, the contrast they suggested between civilisation and barbarism’. And as Betjeman noted of Piper, never was his work more sublime and poignant than during the Blitz, ‘When the bombs fell, when the City churches crashed, when the classic and Perpendicular glory of England was burnt and stark.’ The nation’s past, its most idiosyncratic architectural legacy – Wren’s London – was now on the frontline. And though Piper’s Blitz landscapes are notable for their lack of human victims, he does illustrate the casualties. In much the same way as Betjeman was read the roll call of the Dragon School dead of 1914-1918, Piper listed the deaths of those that most mattered to him, perhaps shedding a tear himself at the death of a favourite: Christ Church, Newgate Street, a Wren church destroyed by Luftwaffe incendiary bombs; Coventry Cathedral, 15 November, 1940; Redland Park Congregational Church, Bristol; St Mary le Port, Bristol (See below). But crucially, as Betjeman noted, when Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’ came into its own, prompted by events, it was nonetheless the result of the artist’s pre-war experience as an artist of ‘pleasing decay’, but one which did not necessarily negate that of the modern – employing, crucially, a ‘theory of colour to keep the drama of a newly fallen bomb alive’. Grigson’s assertion that Piper’s Betjemanism was a ‘rejection’ of modernism requires re-examination.

 St Mary le Port, Bristol (1940)

St Mary le Port, Bristol (1940)

‘The lesson of the old-fashioned market square’, Piper wrote in the Architectural Review, ‘is the lesson of beauty in irregularity and non-conformity… the effect of many different tastes rubbing along together for better or worse’. Including an ink and gouache image of the square in the market town of Devizes, in Wiltshire, with a medieval market cross in centre, against a contrasting background of historically jumbled building fronts, Piper illustrated his point. So, too, with the market place in Salisbury (See below). But in this latter example Piper added colour to certain façades – red and yellow – to accentuate ‘the simple and fortuitous colours of the buildings’. ‘It is surprising how little guide-book writers tell us about the colour of towns and villages’, Piper complained. Indeed, the colour of architecture, for Piper, was one of its great neglected joys. The most seemingly ordinary market square could still be aesthetically appreciated: ‘the scene still had good pictorial qualities.’ And it was the ‘accidents’ that mattered most of all to Piper, ‘the jumble of little expressions of personality’. Indeed, it was an effortless task to recognise the qualities of a ‘fine gothic church or a distinguished eighteenth-century façade’, but the Georgian or Victorian street frontage required a more tenacious eye. But the detail, so argued Piper, was there to be discovered with the use of an abstract principle.

Salisbury (1946)

Salisbury (1946)

If this was indeed an element of Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’ – to accentuate the ordinary to the point of making it extraordinary – it was one which owed something to his previous modern abstractions of the mid-1930s, which, as Betjeman noted, had taught the artist the discipline and the consequence of ‘the use of juxtaposed colour and textures’. This Betjemanism of picturesque regression ironically had a root in the British modernist aesthetic of the decade previous. An echo of Piper’s abstract credentials was most apparent in an article for the Architectural Review in 1945, titled ‘Colour in the Picturesque Village’. In an illustration of a street in rural Newton St. Cyres Piper replaced quaint cottage walls with flat planes of red, yellow and white. For Piper there were three distinct types of picturesque colour in groups of building: ‘unvaried’; ‘sentimental painters’ colours’; and ‘colours that are highly contrasted in themselves, or one colour (or white) that is in violent contrast with the surroundings’. Newton St. Cyres was the very latter of these three. Swaffham Prior, on the other hand, was a ‘simpler combination of “painter’s” colour’; Piper employing only red and yellow, not the violent contrast of a white form. But a white plane, a contrast which fashioned a sense of melodrama, was a tool much employed by Piper in his oils; A Ruined House, Hampton Gay, Oxfordshire (See below) is a case in point. ‘Colour can make or spoil the prettiness of a village.’ The success of a composition, natural or otherwise – much like that of an abstract performance – was as much about colour, as one of form. Indeed, the shaped dramas of Piper’s images of Blitz churches are reliant upon trademark flaunts of white. But as Piper’s articles for the Architectural Review illustrate, even the picturesque could be explained and reduced to a treatise of abstract principles. This led Betjeman to note that Piper’s ‘landscapes in oil are essays in the careful use of colour which, though it may not be “like”, is like what the place painted is like to a poet’.

A Ruined House, Hampton Gay, Oxfordshire, 1941

A Ruined House, Hampton Gay, Oxfordshire, 1941

Piper’s contributions to the Architectural Review, as well as his artistic output of the late-1930s and early-1940s, espoused his belief that the tenets of modernism could still be applied to the connoisseurship of the past. This chimes with Sam Smiles’s assertion, in The Geographies of Englishness, that ‘significant elements within British modernism’, 1920-1950, had ‘negotiated an accommodation with the relics of the past’. Piper’s ‘rejection’ of abstraction, as noted by Grigson, is misleading. A continuance of abstract principles may be observed, for example, when we compare Piper’s purely abstract 1937 Composition with his 1939 figurative work Dead Resort Kemptown, Brighton, East Sussex (See below). In the latter piece we discern Piper negotiating a covenant between his previous abstraction and his passion for historical architecture; in this example, Brighton’s Regency legacy. Piper’s buildings remain windowless or shuttered blocks of colour, with the various shapes displaying a variety of colours – which was so important to Piper in his articles for the Architectural Review, in the making, or indeed the ruining, of a picturesque composition. But as Malcolm Yorke notes, too, ‘Piper always needed to be reminded of the straight line if he was not to dissolve his pictures into flurries of brush strokes, abstract textural effects and rainbow patches.’ Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’ was not an absolute divorce from abstraction, but employed it as a modus operandi to accentuate the qualities of a figurative landscape. It was not a rejection of modernism, but rather an escape from the ‘matter of dogma’. It is in this manner that Grigson’s avowal of a ‘rejection’, and inherent ‘Betjemanism’, may be held to ring true. Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’ was not a betrayal of the modern movement, as Betjeman’s daughter related to, but a repudiation of the dogmatic laws of the non-figurative. This liberated Piper, as he himself asserted, allowing him to ‘express a personal love of country and architecture, and the humanity that inhabits them… past and present’. Yet it was the manner of this Betjemanism, as a form of private joke, which, as the poet’s daughter hinted, engendered the notion of a betrayal; one which was essentially prefaced in Betjeman’s 1933 publication Ghastly Good Taste. This was Betjeman’s very own ‘coming clean’: ‘wanting to be up to date’, he wrote, ‘but really preferring all centuries to my own’.

Composition (1937)

Composition (1937)

Dead Resort Kemptown, Brighton, East Sussex (1939)

Dead Resort Kemptown, Brighton, East Sussex (1939)

Although Betjeman was the first to admit that ‘showy’ architecture, ‘something to stick on to a building afterwards’, was a mistake, they were at least ‘good, vulgar mistakes’. ‘I would any day prefer an ornate sham-marble Victorian mantel to a “refeened” pseudo-Queen Anne effort designed by some pupil of an architectural school today’, Betjeman rather cheekily riled in Ghastly Good Taste. ‘Ruined by self-consciousness… horrified lest they should betray some false scholarship’, ‘refeenment’ and ‘good taste’ had killed English architecture. More importantly, still, for Betjeman, it was Victorian architecture that had most democratically ‘reflected the middle class, the backbone of England’: ‘In its utilitarian buildings it was honest and often imaginative, in its domestic buildings naively snobbish, as unpleasant but as well intended, as grocer’s port.’ Betjemanism, and later Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’, had the audacity to advocate what was supposed to be denigrated by the intellectual elite – and, as Harrison notes, what was also so mocked by the Surrealists: bourgeois pretension. Hélène Lipstadt writes that Betjeman’s ‘appreciation of Victoriana’, though he was by no means anti-modern, was a form of ‘private joke’ that ‘went public in Ghastly Good Taste’. It was both ‘polemic and parody’.   If the notion of ‘Ghastly Good Taste’ was indeed a private joke between schoolboys, it was certainly one shared with Piper. In an article for the Architectural Review in 1940, simply named ‘Shops’, Piper expressed an identical view to Betjeman’s notion of ‘Ghastly Good Taste’, one aggravated by the homogeny of the high street. His antidote, to be taken up by the bourgeois shopkeeper:

Let him look to the Victorians… an example that in matters of colour it is better to be too vulgar than too nice; too fussy than too simple… that to express your own taste in your shop front, whether it is good or indifferent taste, is more laudable.

A row of ‘doll’s-house-like buildings’ on Doll Street (See below), in Machynlleth, was for Piper the antithesis of good taste, thus a frontage saved ‘by the varied colours of quoins, windows, doors and shop-fronts’. Piper observed, illustrated and noted down for the viewer the various colours forming Doll Street: Bluish French grey walls; cream and green fronts; pale black-grey, light umber and cream umber stone dressings. It was, Piper remarked, and perhaps revealing a key and somewhat anarchistic principle of Betjemanism and the ‘Seeing Eye’, the typical Victorian expression of ‘Every man for himself, and my taste is not your taste, thank goodness’. In this manner, too, Piper and Betjeman were the greatest champions of the unashamedly bourgeois, Pooter-aesthetic: the Architecture of a Nobody.

Doll Street (1945)

Doll Street (1945)

Certainly, Betjeman can be seen to be the greatest advocate of the ‘Pooter-land’ ideal. Indeed, Betjeman’s poem ‘Thoughts on The Dairy of a Nobody’ recalls an afternoon walk made by the Charles Pooter – George Grossmith’s comical creation of bourgeois pretensions – to Watney Lodge, for Sunday lunch with an assortment of Muswell Hill suburbanites. Far from a subject of mockery, Watney Lodge epitomized for Betjeman a legitimate, pre-1914, Victorian aspiration, which for the poet still held something of the sublime:

The Watney Lodge I seem to see
Is gabled gothic hard and red,
With here a monkey puzzle tree
And there a round geranium bed.
Each mansion, each new-planted pine,
Each short and ostentatious drive
Meant Morning Prayer and beef and wine
And Queen Victoria alive.

Indeed, Betjeman’s imagined Watney Lodge parallels a Villa near Wantage (See Below), a residence illustrated by Piper for the 1939 Architectural Review article ‘The Seeing Eye, or How to Like Everything’. In the same piece featuring Whittington Station, Betjeman mocked up a conversation between Piper and some men of the architectural profession – each criticising some piece of Pooterish architecture which Piper, to the contrary, admired. On a Villa near Wantage Mr. Quantity, a modern architect, complains that it is ‘hideous’. Wishing to cure the villa of its muddled nonconformity, Mr. Quantity suggests that the ridge tiles should be removed, so too the ‘needless’ barge-boarding, as well as squaring off the pointed windows, and, finally, whitewashing the entire construction in the ‘colour of the local stone’. Mr. Camshaft, however, a young architectural journalist, has no suggestions, finding the villa ‘immoral and beneath contempt. It stands for all the pretentiousness of the bourgeoisie.’ But it was, as J.M. Richards commented in the Architectural Review in 1946, in an extract from his collaboration with Piper on Castles on the Ground: The Anatomy of Suburbia, the ‘background against which the lives of the majority of English people are now lived… the ideals engendered there are, for better or worse, the ideals of the ordinary Englishman to-day’. Richards declared: ‘We are concerned with what the suburban resident really likes, as distinct from what sophisticated people think he ought to like.’ The joke, for Piper and Betjeman, was that they now mocked the sophistication of the Quantity and Camshaft-types who discounted the England that Betjemanism spoke for. In this manner, Piper was indispensable in visualising and demonstrating the poet’s literary articulations. ‘Pooter-land’, jesting in its sense of taste, free from dogmatic assertions and ‘refeenment’, was of course an affection, but one which offered some security – ‘safe, in a world of trains and buttered toast’ – in a time when, as was becoming apparent, the bomber would always get through.

Villa near Wantage (1939)

Villa near Wantage (1939)

Piper’s ‘Seeing Eye’ was an eloquent defence of Betjeman’s arcadia, an attempt to fashion some form of redress for the ‘unlocated melancholy’ indentified by Spalding. For the very same reason that Betjeman quietly slid into empty churches to locate the past, Piper retreated into his painting. Ironside was correct to single Piper out for his devotion to the past. Its relics were to be protected. And though Piper remained a modernist – to term his ‘rejection’ of abstraction as an entire break would be wrong – Grigson’s assertion of a ‘coming clean’ rings true. Piper’s Betjemanism meant a positive liberation from the modernist trends of schools, dogmas, isms and manifestoes; an escape from the ‘convent’, Piper affirmed, and ‘strict formulas… I was disgusted with that limitation’. ‘Nowadays we tend to invent the school before we produce the painting’, Piper complained. And though, as he recounted to Paul Nash, abstraction had taught him the value of the ‘disciplinarian’ skills of strictly applied line and colour – ‘which open a road to one’s own heart’ – it was ‘not the heart itself’. Yet in attempting, however successfully, to paint subjects he ‘seemed born to love’ Piper indefinitely excluded himself, as Grigson noted, from the vanguard of British modernism. However, Piper’s achievement, and the legitimacy of his ‘Seeing Eye’, as J.M. Richards neatly reflected, was rather as a purveyor of an ‘under-appreciated’ England, bringing to attention the ‘enduring qualities’ of the ‘anonymous’. This was Piper’s Betjemanism: a custodian and champion of his nation’s singular inheritance. And it was for this that Betjeman thanked his friend:

You have saved much of England by your pictures of architecture and landscape. What is more you have increased our vision. Things look like pictures by Mr Piper and look better for having been seen by him.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: