Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pether, Sebastian

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PETHER, SEBASTIAN (1790–1844), landscape-painter, eldest son of Abraham Pether [q. v.], was born in 1790. He was a pupil of his father, and, like him, painted chiefly moonlight views and nocturnal conflagrations. His works of this class are singularly truthful and harmonious in colour, and should have brought him success; but early in life the necessity of providing for a large family drove him into the hands of the dealers, who purchased his pictures for trifling sums for copying purposes, to which they readily lent themselves, and consequently they were rarely seen at exhibitions. In 1814 Pether sent to the Royal Academy ‘View from Chelsea Bridge of the Destruction of Drury Lane Theatre,’ and in 1826 ‘A Caravan overtaken by a Whirlwind.’ The latter was a commission from Sir J. Fleming Leicester; but as the subject was not suited to the painter's talent, this solitary piece of patronage was of no real benefit to him. His life was one long struggle with adversity, which reached its climax when, in 1842, three pictures which, with the help of a friendly frame-maker, he sent to the Royal Academy were rejected. Pether resembled his father in his taste for mechanical pursuits, and is said to have suggested the idea of the stomach-pump to Mr. Jukes the surgeon. He died at Battersea on 14 March 1844, when a subscription was raised for his family. Pictures attributed to Sebastian Pether frequently appear at sales, but they are usually dealers' copies. His genuine works are rare.

[Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, ed. Stanley; Art Union, 1844, p. 144; Seguier's Dict. of Painters.]

F. M. O'D.