River and Rowing Museum reveals a stunning unseen collection of John Piper's works

By Richard Moss | 11 January 2012
a colourful abstract painting of a cottage nestled on a hillside
Garn Fawr, oil and sand on canvas laid on board© Gyselynck Collection, courtesy River & Rowing Museum
Exhibition: John Piper - The Gyselynck Collection, River and Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames, March 3 – October 8 2012

A previously unseen collection of works by John Piper showing at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley is marking the 20th anniversary of the artist's death.

The Gyselnyk Collection, comprising more than 30 John Piper works, was amassed by the late Michael Gyselynck, a local collector with an almost unrivalled passion for Piper. It features artwork spanning the artist's entire career across his different mediums.

Perhaps best known for his stained glass designs, his landscapes and architectural depictions of Britain and for his collaboration with John Betjeman on the Shell County Guides, John Piper (1903-1992) was also passionate about exploring different methods and styles - all of which were collected by Gyselynck.

Many aspects of his output, including the abstract landscape compositions, topographical and figurative paintings, collage and ceramics are on display, as well as rarely seen pieces including his nudes and later expressive flower studies.

Michael Gyselynck's love affair with Piper's work began with the purchase of one print, but over the years it became almost an obsession to search out his works.  His home soon became packed with Pipers and he built a second one so he could show his collection off to the full.

Piper lived near Henley-on-Thames for most of his working life, and the exhibition builds on two previous Piper shows at the River and Rowing Museum: Master of Diversity (2000) and Crossing Boundaries (2003/4). It complements an extensive reference collection about the artist and his work.

The museum also currently houses Piper's Landscape of the Two Seasons (1960), on long-term loan from the P&O Art Collection.

More artwork from the exhibition:

an abstract mixed media collage/painting of a beach with pebbles looking towards a lighthouse in the distance
Brittany Beach with Lighthouse (1961). Collage mixed media© Gyselynck Collection, courtesy River & Rowing Museum
a painting of female calssical Indian dancing figures against a red background
Flying Spirits (1972). Watercolour, gouache, and ink over wax resist.© Gyselynck Collection, courtesy River & Rowing Museum
an abstract landscape painting resembling a rock face with caves rendered in colourful watercolour washes with pen and ink
Caves, Bullslaughter Bay, Composition No.1 (circa 1955). Watercolour, pen, ink and gouache© Gyselynck Collection, courtesy River & Rowing Museum
A female reclining Nude seen from behind in stockings and shoes in wash, pen, ink and chalk
Reclining Nude. Wash, pen, ink and chalk© Gyselynck Collection, courtesy River & Rowing Museum
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