Sebastian Pether, Ruin in a Landscape

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Ruin in a Landscape
? c.1810–20
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 33.5 cm, Overall width: 49 cm
Sebastian Pether (1790-1844)
Catalogue Number


Sebastian Pether was born at York Cottage, Battersea, the eldest son of the landscape painter Abraham Pether (1756–1812). Like his father, he was known principally for his dramatic moonlit landscapes, often featuring Gothic ruins and towers. Pether exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1812, as well as the British Institution and the Society of British Artists at Suffolk Street. He painted a number of ambitious historical landscapes, including the Eruption of Vesuvius with the Destruction of a Roman City (1824; Museum of Fine Arts, Baltimore). Having married ‘too young and too poor’, Pether was increasingly compelled to sell his landscape ‘potboilers’ directly to picture dealers for relatively low prices in order to support a wife and growing family. In 1842 he submitted three pictures to the annual exhibition at the Royal Academy in an attempt to revive his fortunes. Their rejection precipitated further ill-health. Pether died in Battersea in March 1844, by which time three of his grown-up children had died of consumption and he himself had been reduced to penury. A subscription was raised by the Art Union to support his family.1 Pether’s younger brother Henry (1800–1865) was also a landscape painter, while his son, William, worked as a mosaicist.

by Martin Postle


  1. The Gentleman’s Magazine, no. 177, 17 July 1844, p. 99.


Related catalogue items from Trewithen

  • Castle Howard Trewithen

    ? Christopher Hawkins

    circle of Jonathan Richardson the Elder, c.1730

  • Castle Howard Trewithen

    A View of Truro with St Mary’s Church

    T. Wheatley

  • Castle Howard Trewithen


    Philip James de Loutherbourg