Piper’s interest in architecture was present throughout his childhood. By the age of 14 he had visited every church in Surrey, taking notes and drawing in his sketchbooks at each trip. Continuing this passion into adulthood, Piper wrote and illustrated several architectural articles and guides, most notably the Shell Guides, becoming the sole editor of the series in 1968. Executed in 1956, the present work is one of the earliest examples of Piper’s prolific church tower series that continued into the 1970s in a variety of media including drawings, screenprints, and photographs. The village of Huish Episcopi, Somerset became one of the artist’s favourite locations to depict.
This watercolour was acquired by Senhor Assis Chateaubriand (1892-1968) from the Arthur Jeffress Gallery, London. Chateaubriand founded the São Paulo Museum of Art in 1947 and was a journalist, lawyer, entrepreneur, and Brazilian Ambassador to the UK from 1957 to 1961.