John Piper

Foliate Heads

  • Signed (lower right)
  • Ink, gouache and wax resist
  • 16.5 x 20.5 ins


Orde Levinson Esq.

Henley-on-Thames, River & Rowing Museum, John Piper: A Very British Artist, 2017-2018, unnumbered exhibition

Piper's exposure to the 'Green Men' of cathedral bosses was greatly increased by the publishing of C. J. P. Cave's book Roof Bosses in 1948, which featured numerous close-up photographs of foliate heads from which Piper would reference when he first began making images of such heads in August 1953. In addition to these photographic references, Piper made rubbings directly from foliate heads found on medieval church misericords, with the resultant quasi-abstract faces forming the basis of his later studies.

The structuring of the image into two combined halves oneblue, one yellow, each dedicated to a singular foliate head was directly influenced by Fernand Mourlot's catalogue of Picasso's lithographic heads, titled Picasso, Lithographe, I, 1919-1947, which was published in 1949 and employed a
similar 'dual head' motif on the front and back cover.

This particular Foliate Heads was later reworked as an etching and screenprint and included in the 80th Anniversary Portfolio (1983).

Please note the price of this work is subject to Artist's Resale Right