'I felt then that I was seeing the mountains for the first time and seeing them as nobody had seen them before.

Each rock lying in the grass had a positive personality: for the first time I saw the bones and the structure and the lie of the mountains, living with them and climbing them as I was, lying on them in the sun and getting soaked with rain in their cloud cover and enclosed in their improbable, private rock-world in fog.' John Piper's 1943 stay in North Wales at the behest of the War Artists Advisory Committee led to one of his most productive periods, producing a series of great images of Snowdonia. Maen Bras – Big Stone and Rain – is one of the lighter works in the series, taking as its focus a large stone lit by the sun bursting through a gap in the clouds. Welsh stone is prominent across Wiltshire – not least among the standing stones at Stonehenge – making Maen Bras a charming and relevant addition to the Young Gallery collection.


Exhibited Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington DC, 1948; sold, Christies, 2014. An Art Loss Register search has been carried out.

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