A wooded river landscape with a fisherman in the foreground

A wooded river landscape with a fisherman in the foreground




English School


 A wooded river landscape with a fisherman in the foreground 

Oil on canvas, signed

30.3 x 43.2 cms

12 x 17 inches

One of a family of five painters, Abraham was born in Chichester in 1756, the son of the renowned mezzotinter, William Pether.

He was a pupil of George Smith, one of the three Smith brothers who were notable local landscape painters. He initially painted in his tutor's style but then enlarged on it by incorporating some elements of Richard Wilson as well as displaying a knowledge and influence of the 17th Dutch masters such as A van Everdingen. He moved to London and began an industrious and fruitful career showing at the annual exhibitions in the capital.

From about 1784, he specialised a good deal in moonlit scenes which earned him the sobriquet "Moonlight Pether". His night-time "Eruption of Vesuvius" and "Fire by Moonlight" were favourable comparisons to similar works by Joseph Wright of Derby who was regarded as the finest exponent of this genre. Pether painted other Italian views as well as his more common English scenes which were scenes taken from such diverse areas as Hampshire, Sussex, Essex, Cumberland, Warwickshire and London.

He was also a busy inventor but this alternative career, although much talked about, was usually done so in a derisory manner and it is as a painter that he is regarded today, exhibiting 61 times at the Royal Academy, 24 at the Society of Artists, 39 at the Free Society and one at the British Institute. Exhibited titles include "A View in Kensington Gardens", "Small landscape and cattle", "Evening - with a cornfield from nature", "An iron foundry by moonlight" and "The harvest moon".

W Birch reproduced "Warwick Castle" in his volume "Delices" in 1789. The Victoria and Albert Museum has an example of his work as do the Manchester City Art Gallery and the Guildhall in London.

Abraham Pether died in Southampton 13 April 1812 survived by his two painter sons Henry and Sebastian and grandson A Pether, Junior.


Dictionary of British Landscape Painters - M H Grant

The Dictionary of British 18th Century Painters, Ellis Waterhouse

Dictionnaire des Peintres - E Benezit


1756 - 1812


Oil on canvas