A cattle drover ushers cows along a riverside path. Beyond them a ruined castle or abbey is seen and plumes of smoke rise from farm houses. The distant view includes a mountain and the artist has used trees and clouds to frame the composition.
An inscription on the back of this work, written by a former owner, reads: ‘left me with old silver bread basket by the Misses Newcome of Gresford, my father's cousins’. Several generations of the Newcome family lived at Gresford, co. Denbigh, throughout the 19th century and the exact identify of the ‘Misses Newcome’ mentioned has yet to be established.
Abraham Pether, a cousin of the painter William Pether, was born at Chichester and as a child showed a talent for music. However, he later became a pupil of the painter George Smith. His works mainly depict river and mountain scenery, often with classical buildings, although it was his popular moonlit views that inspired the nickname ‘Moonlight Pether’. He exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy and Free Society of Artists. Despite some success Pether was never able to do more than provide for the basic needs of his wife and children. Towards the end of his life he was incapacitated by disease. The Artist’s Benevolent Fund faced severe criticism for not supporting his family after the artist’s death, despite their acute poverty.
Collection of ‘the Mrs Newcome of Gresford’; by descent to the son or daughter of a cousin; collection of ‘Mead’; collection of ‘R. Hoan’; from whom purchased by J. S. Maas & Co. Ltd., London, on 4 June 1964; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in January 1965
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