John Piper

A visit to Chichester gave me a chance to call in very briefly at Pallant House to see their exhibition about John Piper’s work as a textile designer, an aspect of his work with which I was nearly totally unfamiliar, but which is an appropriate subject for Chichester where he designed a cope for Walter Hussey when he was first appointed Dean in 1955 and a set of seven tapestries for the Cathedral fifty years ago.

Piper’s first work as a textile designer was for Zika and Lida Ascher who had set up a silk-printing business in London after emigrating from Czechoslovakia.   In 1947, they organised an exhibition of printed textiles at the ICA.   In the 1950s, he also worked for David Whitehead Ltd., a textile company in Lancashire for whom he did beautiful textile designs of, for example, Grinling Gibbons’s spectacular monument to Baptist Noel, third Viscount Campden in Exton church in Rutland:-

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Chichester

I had remembered Chichester as a nice, small, provincial city, with a good medieval street plan.   What I hadn’t realised is that the town centre has been turned into a pedestrian shopping mall.   There are vestiges of its eighteenth-century grandeur in some of the streets and door surrounds:-

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