John Piper's Windsor Castle

Explore the castle through these watercolors from the Royal Collections Trust

By Google Arts & Culture

The North Terrace and Winchester Tower, Windsor Castle (c.1941-4) by John Piper (1903-92)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Queen Elizabeth commissioned a series of watercolour paintings of Windsor Castle from John Piper during the war around 1941-4.

The Quadrangle, Windsor Castle, looking west by John Piper (1903-92)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Human figures are absent from Piper’s compositions, which resulted in the towers of the Castle having an eerie quality about them.

The Round Tower from the roof of St. George's Chapel by John Piper (1903-92)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Piper’s watercolours also create an extraordinary illusion of depth, which is partly owing to the artist’s skill as an architectural draughtsman and partly to the sheer scale of the Castle.

The roofs of the Royal Mews from Windsor Castle by John Piper (1903-92)Royal Collection Trust, UK

The views depicted from their high position, and the broad spaces between the different parts, result in extensive and magnificently varied portrayals of the scenery.

Windsor town, railway and the Curfew Tower and Horseshoe Cloister, Windsor Castle by John Piper (1903-92)Royal Collection Trust, UK

The dark storm clouds in these watercolours, which were the cause of so much contention during the period of their commission, are a dramatic backdrop to the pale grey stone of the Castle, and give a powerful sense of threat from the skies.

The North Terrace, Windsor Castle, looking west (c.1941-4) by John Piper (1903-92)Royal Collection Trust, UK

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