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NADFAS REVIEW/ SPRING 2011 41

42NADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2011www.nadfas.org.ukshortage - Fawley Bottom had noelectricity until 1958. When Husseyinvited them to Scotney he tellinglyremarked, "I think the scenery wouldentertain you". In January 1945, Hussey had writtenthat Piper was the first artist technicallyand psychologically equipped totransform the essence of a countryhouse into a work of art. Photographsand no fewer than 17 watercolours,paintings and lithographs of both theruined castle and the new house atScotney are shown around the propertywhich inspired them, as well as materialexploring and detailing their friendshipand Piper's own methodical use ofCountry Lifearticles. The third venue, the Tunbridge WellsMuseum and Art Gallery, hosts all thecommissions for tapestries, stainedglass, stage sets, vestments and thenew series of Shell County GuidesthatPiper jointly edited with Betjeman, forwhich he supplied photographs, amodernist font, as well as sketches and drawings. First published in 1934the series was then revived andtransformed by both men, assisted byPiper's son, Edward, in the 1950s. TheHasselblad 120mm camera that bothfather and son used is on display. Theseries was a loss leader financially andthe petroleum company lost interest inthe direction it took. It ran until 1985when Piper failed to broker a deal tokeep it in print. Also at Tunbridge Wells visitors will be drawn into the world of threeGlyndebourne opera productions (The English Opera Group productionsof The Rape of Lucretia(1946), Albert Herring(1947) and Don Giovanni) and that of High Church art with the designs for the tapestry and high Mass set commissioned by Walter Hussey for Chichestercathedral (1965/1966). Here also are the 1983 cartoons for two memorialwindows, at Lamberhurst St Mary andFirle St Peter.The Rapere-opened the Sussexopera house season after the grey years of the World War II. Piperheightened Benjamin Britten's Greekchoric work by a strong use of colours in the costume design: ForGeneral Collatinus, "a good, positive,constant red"; for troublemaker Junius, "a pictorially trouble-provokingpink"; and for Tarquinius, "a scurrilous,bluebottle greenish blue". Critics enjoyed the "stylised late-Victorianprofusion" (Desmond Shawe-Taylor) of the sets for the village opera thatfollowed. He had initially turned downdesigning his favourite Mozart opera for Carl Ebert but when Oliver Messel fell ill he took over, half reluctantly.Before the opening night he confidedthat he had come to the conclusion"that the opera is such a unity that it is best done without any scenery at all... It is only feeble theatricalconventions that make scenerynecessary at all".When Walter Hussey, the millionaireDean of Chichester, died, his extensivecollections passed to Pallant House in Chichester, which has generouslymade available all the material for thecathedral's Trinitarian tapestry and the mass vestments that werecommissioned a year later in 1966. Only the life-size cartoon for the tapestryitself, which is on display at the V&A inLondon, is missing. The vibrancy of the colours that sodelighted the Glyndebourne audiencesin 1946 is here writ large and to this day the tapestry makes an excitingbackdrop to the nave altar in Chichester,hanging in the seven canopied lancetsof the 1910 wooden screen. Thetapestry was woven near Aubusson inFrance at a cost of £3,269. The sidepanels depict the four elements with the symbols of the Four Evangelists Above:Houseson the Front1932 Left:Design for backcloth for'The Rape of Lucretia'1946Right: Clymping1953JOHN PIPER