The Second World War had a profound impact on Piper and, as an official War Artist, he produced a collection of paintings of bomb-damaged churches and those in decay. He also became involved in Kenneth Clark’s Recording Britain project, which was intended to boost morale by celebrating the country’s natural beauty and architectural heritage.
In the years after the war, Piper undertook a series of commissions to create modern stained glass windows, tapestries and vestments for churches. Some of these were nationally known, such as the Baptistry Window at Coventry Cathedral and the High Altar tapestry at Chichester, others were more personal in nature like the John Betjeman Memorial Window at Farnborough. His attraction, as an artist, to the architectural details and ‘pleasing decay’ of church buildings on the outside was matched by a vision to bring colour, energy and modernity into the heart of the church. This passion was to continue for the rest of his life.