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Sir David Piper

David Piper (National Portrait Gallery)
David Piper (National Portrait Gallery)

Dates of office: 1966 - 1973

Sir David Towry Piper, CBE FSA FRSL (21 July 1918–29 December 1990) was a British museum curator and author. He was director of the National Portrait Gallery (1964–67), and director of the Fitzwilliam Museum (and Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge), 1967–73. He became Director of the Ashmolean Museum (and Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford) from 1973 to 1985. He was knighted in 1983.

The second of three sons of Stephen Harvey Piper, Professor of Physics at Bristol University, Piper was born at Wimbledon and educated at Clifton College and St Catharine's College, Cambridge.

He was Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford for 1966–7.

In 1956, he prepared a descriptive catalogue of the Petre family portraits at Ingatestone Hall for the Essex Record Office.

Under the pseudonym Peter Towry, Piper wrote a number of novels, including 'Trial by Battle' (1959), a story based on his experiences as a prisoner of war in Japan for three years during the Second World War.

In 1945, Piper married Anne Horatia (1920–2017), daughter of Oliffe Richmond, classics professor at Edinburgh University. She was a novelist and playwright. They had three daughters – Evanthe, Ruth and Emma – and a son, theatre designer Tom Piper (born 1964).

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