John Piper

Foliate Head

1971

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Lithograph on paper
Dimensions
Image: 391 x 264 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Curwen Studio through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975
Reference
P06456

Display caption

Foliate or ‘leafy’ heads such as this one are perhaps one of John Piper’s most distinctive motifs, appearing in his works in a variety of media including tapestries and ceramics as well as drawings, paintings and prints. Their form is based loosely on traditional ‘green men’, found in the architecture of many medieval and nineteenth-century buildings. The recurrence of the image perhaps reflects Piper’s fascination with detailed medieval church carvings , particularly misericords - small wooden shelves installed in churches to provide some comfort for those needing it during long periods of standing prayer.

Gallery label, May 2007