We are excited to announce our first Collections Exhibition for God’s House Tower. A rarely seen group of paintings by a Southampton family will go on show when we open later this year.
Stunningly displayed in our state-of-the-art, climate controlled first floor gallery the paintings by Abraham, Sebastian and Henry Pether will show GHT as it was in the 19th century – when waves lapped against the Tower’s walls. The paintings have never been shown in public together before, and they will shine a light on our opening theme, GHT: Beside the Sea.
Some info for you about the family and the ‘Moonlight Pethers’:
The renowned Pether family were renowned landscape painters who lived and worked in Southampton in the 1800s. This selection of romantic landscapes by Abraham, and his sons Sebastian and Henry depict a lost, intriguing scene from the city’s past, and represent the dramatic changes to the urban coastline GHT has witnessed during its 700-year life, making them a perfect introduction for this new era in GHT’s history, as it prepares to welcome new audiences when it reopens later this year.
The Pethers were recognised for their skill in depicting moonlight, sunsets and fire scenes. Following in their father’s footsteps, Henry and Sebastian created further works depicting Southampton Town Quay in close proximity to the coast, and GHT’s prominent position directly overlooking the water.
Industrial progress and post war development reclaimed and altered much of the coastline, repositioning GHT further and further inland, disconnecting it from the sea it once overlooked. With a modern development of the coastal landscape, including West Quay shopping centre and Ikea, this lost connection is not immediately obvious to local residents and visitors, and so this exhibition aims to bring this sharply back into focus.
We would like to thank our funders: National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, Southampton City Council, The Wolfson Foundation, Friends of Southampton Museums and Galleries, Barker-Mill Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust.