Henry Pether, British 1828-1865

Artist's Biography

Henry Pether was born into a family that was well known for artistic talent. His father Abraham established a reputation as a specialist painter of moonlit landscapes and is often referred to as “Moonlight Pether”. The family came from Chichester.

Abraham had another son, Sebastian, who was also influenced by his father’s artistic interests and he too painted moonlit scenes.

It is generally accepted that Henry was by far the most talented and capable artist. His work has a security in terms of composition, control of detail, atmosphere and colouring which is greatly superior to his father and brother.

The present painting shows the romantic quality of light which makes Henry’s work so striking. He favoured actual scenes, often on the Thames or in Venice, and this painting conveys the poetry and realism of his best work. His father and brother tended to repeat romanticised capriccio subjects, often with overstated blue tones which lack conviction. Henry’s palette was more sensitive and truthful to nature, as this very fine example demonstrates. 

Henry Pether died in the workhouse in Chelsea.