PENN, John

1921 - 2007

John Penn was born at Greens Norton, Towcester, Northamptonshire on 11 March 1921, son of Frank Penn (18 August 1884-23 April 1961) and his wife Audrey Penn née Lees, who married at Whittllebury Church, Towcester, Northamptonshire on 20 January 1920 and shortly after John's birth they moved to Bawdsey Hall, near Woodbridge, Suffolk. John Penn was educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge where he studied history, his studies being interrupted when he served in the Second World War, during which time he won the Military Cross for bravery. In 1939, an art student, living at Bawdsey Hall, near Woodbridge with his parents, Frank, 'on private means', and Audrey, with five indoor servants including a 'masseur'. One of Britainís greatest modern architects, but his uncompromising approach, alongside the love of the Suffolk region in which he lived, meant that he never achieved the wider prominence of some of his peers. An architect, abstract painter, and furniture designer, spending time in the United States with architect Richard Neutra (1892-1970) and Penn's buildings were influenced by the Case Study Houses. His works included a factory and a pavilion for Trinity College, Cambridge, and several private houses in Suffolk. He taught at the Cambridge School of Architecture until 1957 and then at Hammersmith College of Art until 1970, although at the same time he set up a practice at his home, Little Haddon Hall, near Woodbridge. As an artist, Penn first exhibited in San Francisco in 1952 and in succeeding years, his work, abstract in nature, could be seen at one-man shows at various galleries in London and Suffolk. He designed a unique folding chair in 1971. John Penn died at Ipswich on 14 February 2007.

Works by This Artist