This view of Claybury Hall in Woodford, Essex, shows the building from the south front. Faced with pink stucco, the building has a two-storey central bow, decorated by a colonnade. Roughly contemporary with Chatham House, Claybury Hall was completed in about 1800 and this painting is thought to have been commissioned by the first owner, James Hatch, at about that time. The Hall was designed by architect Jesse Gibson and built on the site of an earlier house that had been demolished in c.1790. Landscape architect Humphrey Repton (1752–1818) designed the surrounding park, where the building still stands, although the grounds have since been reduced in size and now also contain the substantial complex of Claybury Hospital.
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.
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