This is a distinguished account of an interesting artistic partnership, well written and superbly illustrated, and surely definitive. John Piper, the artist, stage designer, writer, friend of John Betjeman among many others, produced an enormous body of work, which Frances Spalding describes without lingering. Piper's transformation from modernism to representational art in the late 1930s is brilliantly conveyed. I've always found his black skies a bit off-putting, and it would have been helpful to have a bit more on the reason for this predilection; but the versatile technique of the artist is very well described. The author does linger a bit over Myfanwy's work with Benjamin Britten, possibly because the sources are plentiful, but it is all interesting.
Lots of plaudits to the author. No plaudits to OUP, a publisher which would no doubt think it was in the top rank. The first word of Chapter 1 (Giacometti) is misspelt, and there are typos and small editorial points at five-page intervals. When the content is so good, it is such a pity that the basics of publishing have been so badly neglected. If I were the author I would feel very let down.