Welcome to the John Louis Petit website
This website has been established by The JL Petit Society, as part of its work to promote a wider understanding and appreciation of the Petit’s life and work, including his architectural writing as well as painting.
Information about our objectives and activities, services and a contact point are on the About Us page; the other pages accessed through the menu along the top are self-explanatory. In the Biography page you will find a link to the information boards established, so far only in Lichfield. The Book, Petit’s Tours of Old Staffordshire can be found under Publications
This update is mainly from July 2021. There are edits throughout a new grouping of pages under Art and Architecture with new pages in each section, eg on Petit’s art in important counties and regions. The essay on Petit’s art by the major watercolour collector Ian Cooke is on a link in the Art page and still here.
We and The Historian were delighted with the entries for the first annual essay prize for school students. The winning essay is here. It demonstrates our view that Petit, because of his modern views and steadfast opposition to prevailing orthodoxy, is very accessible to a younger generation.
Research continued with completion of a book on Petit’s art, which should be published early in 2022. This will be a milestone in the Petit world, since the only existing book is oriented more to the midlands. It sets out Petit’s significance in foreshadowing many aspects of impressionism in contrast to his UK peers. Lectures have resumed.
- Information boards in Lichfield are now up. One in St Michael’s churchyard near the family vault, and one, shared with the The Johnson Society, on Tamworth St in the City Centre where Petit formerly lived with his mother and sisters. Further boards in Staffordshire and beyond are being explored
- The two albums of Petit’s pen and ink drawings for his first book were dumped unattributed in a small local auction. Thankfully the dealer who bought them contacted us and about 220 of the 285 drawings have been rescued by the Society and its individual members. Conservation is underway. We plan to offer limited edition prints of the drawings for sale through the website.
- The above was partly accomplished by the Society selling a couple of watercolours. This sets a precedent that we may continue, see Publications and Shop page.
- The schools project has started (see special page). We are sponsoring an essay prize through the Young Historian annual essay competition. So far 8 schools are participating.
- An article has been published in The Historian, concerning St James, Gerrards Cross (architect Sir William Tite, 1857) and Petit’s influence on the design. The evidence is circumstantial but strong, since Petit had long advocated this style. Tite later acknowledged his debt. We hope it will lead to an upgrading of this church.
- Thanks also to the members who have joined and supported the Society both in cash and kind. Every contact is much appreciated.