The River & Rowing Museum bursts open its doors finally on Thursday 20 May with a remarkable new display in its nationally significant John Piper Gallery, shining a spotlight on Piper’s lifelong passion for stained glass and his exploration of this medium, influenced by the medieval windows he encountered from childhood. Visitors will be able to get up close to the vibrant and newly-conserved cartoon of John Piper’s beautiful stained glass window design in memory of his close friend Sir John Betjeman.

The centrepiece of the new display, recently beautifully conserved and rarely seen in public before, is Piper’s vibrant ‘cartoon’ or design for the stunning stained glass window, which he was invited to create (c. 1985–1986) for All Saints Church, Farnborough, West Berkshire, in memory of his close friend and collaborator Sir John Betjeman. Piper and Betjeman (1906-1984), the Poet Laureate, writerand broadcaster,shared a close friendship, a love of the British landscape, and a love of churches, embarking on many a ‘church crawl’ together.This was the last of the incredible stained glass windows Piper designed before he died in 1992 and is still the most important feature of this little parish church.

Cartoon - close up colourful