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 1964–1967, and of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 1967–1973; and Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, 1967–1973, and Director of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1973–85 and Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford, 1973–1985. 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 (where he took an M.A.).
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 World War II.
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).
His publications include:
- Petre Family Portraits. Essex Record Office Publication No 26. 1956.
- The English Face. Thames & Hudson. 1957.
As Peter Towry:
- Richard said no ... Morrow. 1953.
- It's warm inside. Chatto and Windus. 1953.
- Lord Minimus, a heroic comedy. Chatto and Windus. 1955.
- Trial by battle. Hutchinson. 1959. (reprinted in 2019 by the Imperial War Museum but as by David Piper)
- Please count your change. Macmillan. 1962.
- "Clifton College Register" Muirhead, J.A.O. p475: Bristol; J.W Arrowsmith for Old Cliftonian Society; April, 1948
- "Piper, Sir David Towry". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 16 October 2019. (subscription required)
- Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, Volume 95, Kelly's Directories, 1969, p. 1585
- "Oxford Slade Professors, 1870–present" (PDF). University of Oxford. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- Piper, David (1956). Petre family Portraits. Essex Record Office Publication No 26.
- "Aspects of Art Lectures". The British Academy.
- Piper, David (1970). "The Development of the British Literary Portrait up to Samuel Johnson" (PDF). Proceedings of the British Academy. 54: 51–72.
- "David Piper, 72, Dies; British Art Historian". The New York Times. 4 January 1991. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- "OBITUARY: Lady Anne Piper, who has died aged 96". Oxford Times. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
- "The joy of sets". The Sunday Herald. 7 May 1994. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
- R. J. B. Walker, 'Piper, Sir David Towry (1918–1990)', rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2007 accessed 5 March 2013
- "Piper, Sir David (Towry)". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. 1920–2008 (November 2012 online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. Retrieved 5 March 2013. (subscription or UK public library membership required)