‘The Moonlight Pethers’ at the Watts Gallery

Four paintings by artists from the Pether family feature in Moonscapes, an exhibition at the Watts Gallery between 2 April and 23 June 2019.

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On show at the Watts Gallery are four paintings by Abraham, Sebastian and Henry Pether, widely known as the ‘Moonlight Pethers’. The works depict either recognisable landmarks in Britain, or imaginary views against a backdrop of a silvery moon and a waterside setting. Abraham Pether’s Windsor Castle, made in 1809, is a typical example of the artist’s nocturnal scenes that reinforces his reputation as ‘Moonlight Pether’. Henry Pether’s Lambeth Palace by Moonlight and Pool of London, Billingsgate to the Tower, Moonlight demonstrate the artist’s accuracy and eye for detail in representing architectural subjects and skill for moonscapes. Sebastian Pether’s A River Scene with Cottage shows an imaginary setting with a lake and a mountainous landscape that reflects the moonlight.

For Abraham and his sons, Henry and Sebastian Pether, moonlit and dramatically illuminated scenes became signature works. During the early 19th century this family of artists established a reputation for producing a series of nocturnal, atmospheric paintings, which were both part of an artistic and a scientific enterprise. In addition to his career as an artist, Abraham Pether had an extensive knowledge of scientific subjects and gave lectures on electricity. ‘His philosophical and mathematical researches deserve every praise: he was an admirable mechanic, and had constructed telescopes, microscopes, and almost every instrument relative to science, upon the grandest and most improved principle’, an obituary reported. Both Abraham’s sons, Henry and Sebastian followed their father’s example and continued the tradition of moonscapes.

Further Information

Watts Gallery
Down Lane, Compton
Surrey, GU3 1DQ

Telephone: 01483 810235
Email: info@wattsgallery.org.uk