Henry Pether was born on the 15th March 1800 into a family that was well known for artistic talent. The family came from Chichester, his father Abraham established a reputation as a specialist painter of moonlit landscapes and is often referred to as “Moonlight Pether”.
Abraham had nine children, including Sebastian who was also influenced by his father’s artistic interests and painted moonlit scenes. Henry too specialised in moonlight scenes and is often seen as the better of the three. His work has a security in terms of composition, control of detail, atmosphere and colouring which is often greatly superior to his father and brother. Henry’s palette is more sensitive and truthful to nature.
Unlike his father and brother Henry favoured actual places, 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.
Henry exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1828 to 1862, the British Institution and Suffolk Street.
The artist lived in both Camden and Clapham. Sadly, like his father who died in poverty, Henry spent his last days in the workhouse in Chelsea.
National Maritime Museum
Southampton City Art Gallery
Government Art Collection
Harris Museum & Art Gallery