‘Fishing by Moonlight’

Oil on canvas
14″ x 17″

Sebastian Pether
British 1790 – 1844


The talented painter of landscapes and moonlight scenes, Sebastian Pether was the son and pupil of Abraham Pether (1756-1812). Both father and son were inspired by the work of the 18th century Dutch masters, whose skilful paintings illustrating the illuminated effect of the light reflection on the subject underneath, they both admired.

The atmospheric painting Fishing by Moonlight’, is an wonderful example of Sebastian Pether’s work. The focal point of the painting is naturally the full moon, surrounded by a halo of light and with the moonlight shimmering on the river below, the artist has created the mysterious atmosphere of a moonlit evening, with a solitary fisherman setting out to fish and to lay eel traps. The buildings are painted in meticulous detail, and stand out majestically against the night sky.

Although Sebastian Pether, enjoyed the recognition for his work, exhibiting in London at the Royal Academy, the British Institution and Suffolk Street between 1812 and 1826, he was driven by the necessity of providing for a large family and he sold many of his paintings direct to the leading dealers of the day.  As well as his fascination for moonlight painting, Sebastian Pether also painted fires and other destructive effects of nature and the paintings Destruction of a City by Volcano and A Caravan Passing the Desert Overtaken by a Sandstorm were both exhibited at the Royal Academy. Sebastian Pether also shared his father’s taste for mechanical pursuits, and is said to have suggested the idea of the stomach-pump to Mr Jukes the surgeon.

Sebastian’s son Henry was an accomplished artist in his own right, and although their work has often been confused if not signed, Sebastian’s colours are in general harder and more metallic, in the Dutch manner, whereas Henry’s are warmer and brown in tone. The former also had the edge on quality of brushwork.

Sebastian Pether died at Battersea on 14 March 1844, when a subscription was raised for his family.

© Sutcliffe Galleries 2020


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