Raymond Piper RUA

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Artist Bio

Raymond Piper RUA

Raymond Piper (1923-2007) is best remembered for his botanical paintings and book illustrations, but was also a talented portrait painter. Born in London, his family moved to Northern Ireland when he was six, where his passion for nature was stimulated and he was often found climbing Cavehill mountain. Though largely self-taught, he attended evening classes at the Belfast College of Art under Newton Penphrase. Under the guidance of his father, he worked for a number of years in Harland and Wolff’s shipyard as a marine engineer and then taught at the Royal School in Dungannon. In 1948 he began to pursue painting as a career and was awarded a travel scholarship by the Committee for Encouragement of Music and Arts (1950), having his first one man show with the group in 1953.
His reputation as a portrait artist saw him attain such prestigious sitters as the Lord Mayors of London and Belfast and well known writer Robert Lloyd Praeger. During the 1950s and early 1960s the artist came together with Irish writer Richard Hayward to illustrate a series of travel books about Ireland. It was around this time he developed his love of Irish plant life, with Piper’s flower drawings being exhibited in the Natural History section of the British Museum in London. He has been presented with the John Lindley Medal of the Royal Horticultural Society, awarded an honorary degree by the Open University (2000; 2002) and elected an academician of the Royal Ulster Academy (1975).

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