The Thames and Greenwich Hospital by moonlight

(Updated, May 2019) A painterly interpretation of the River Thames and Greenwich Hospital by moonlight. Like his father, Abraham 'Moonlight' Pether of Chichester, Henry Pether (1800-80) specialized in moonlight scenes of this sort, usually with a full Moon fairly central in the composition. He seems to have been more of a topographer than his father and elder brother Sebastian, many of whose landscapes are imaginary, and he was famed for his views of the Thames, which he painted extensively from Greenwich down river between 1850 and 1865.

This one of Greenwich Hospital, seen from the west, is a particularly fine example. The foreground and architectural details are carefully studied and delineated, and the moonlight reflected from the Thames illuminates the scene. On the far left of the picture, beyond shipping moored in the river, lies the Isle of Dogs with the chimney of the Cumberland Mills oil-seed factory, which was demolished in the 1980s. The inclusion of the Bellot Monument on the right dates the picture to after 1854 (see BHC2393).

Hastings Museum holds another view by Pether looking in the same direction from roughly where the ships on the middle left are shown here. In that, the southern waterfront on the right includes the river wall of the Trinity Hospital almshouses, with 17th-century Crowley House and its associated warehouse beyond. Since Crowley House (on the present site of Greenwich Power Station) was demolished in 1855, it is likely that both paintings were done by about 1860 rather than later. Pether also did other London views further up river and himself lived in both Camden and Clapham. This painting is signed 'Henry Pether', bottom right.

Object Details

ID: BHC3870
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Pether, Henry
Places: Greenwich Hospital
Date made: circa 1854-60; circa 1854-65
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Frame: 756 mm x 1055 mm x 89 mm;Overall: 15.4 kg;Painting: 610 mm x 915 mm

Your Request

If an item is shown as “offsite”, please allow eight days for your order to be processed. For further information, please contact Archive staff:

Tel: (during Library opening hours)

Click “Continue” below to continue processing your order with the Library team.