Abraham Pether England

7-1756 Chichester, ENG – 4-13-1812 Southampton, ENG

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Abraham Pether was a cousin of notable engraver William Pether. In childhood he showed a great talent for music, and at the age of nine played the organ in one of the Chichester churches. Adopting art as his profession, he became a pupil of George Smith, whom he greatly surpassed.

Abraham Pether painted river and mountain scenery, with classical buildings, in a pleasing though artificial style, somewhat resembling that of Richard Wilson; but his reputation rests on his moonlight subjects, which attracted much admiration, and earned for him the sobriquet of "Moonlight" Pether. He was partial to the combination of moonlight and firelight, as in such subjects as "Eruption of Vesuvius", "Ship on Fire in a Gale at Night", "An Iron foundry by Moonlight" etc., which he painted with fine feeling and harmony of color.

Abraham Pether was a major exhibitor with both the Free Society of Artists and the Incorporated Society of Artists from 1773 to 1791, and at the Royal Academy from 1784 to 1811. His "Harvest Moon", which was at the Academy in 1795, was highly praised at the time. He had an extensive knowledge of scientific subjects, and in his moonlight pictures the astronomical conditions are always correctly observed.

Abraham Pether was also a clever inventor, constructing telescopes and microscopes for his own use, and lectured on electricity using instruments of his own making.

Although his art was popular, Abraham Pether was never able to do more than supply the daily wants of his large family, and when attacked by a lingering disease, which incapacitated him for work and eventually caused his death, he was reduced to great poverty leaving a widow and nine children quite destitute.

Abraham Pether is known in the art world as "Old" Pether, to distinguish him from his sons Sebastian Pether (1790–1844) and Henry Pether (1828-1865), also landscape artists who became known for their moonlit scenes.

Art Movement: Aestheticism Art
Influences: George Smith
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