Welcome to the John Louis Petit website

The Reverend John Louis Petit (1801-68) was an extraordinary Victorian topographical watercolour artist, whose work, for reasons that will be explained, has only recently been rediscovered. Yet John Louis Petit was more than just an artist, he was one of the leading architectural speakers and writers of his age, and one of very few who stood against the tide of copy gothic that was so fashionable in the 19th Century.

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 from November 2020. The About Us page is new, as is the News section below where the Society’s details used to reside. The essay on Petit’s art by the major watercolour collector Ian Cooke is on a link in the Art page and still here.

Latest News

November 2020
 The lockdown has led to cancellation of talks during 2020, but other activities are continuing. Research has led to two further articles being developed, one each on Petit’s Art and Architecture. The former has been accepted for publication during 2021 and sets out Petit’s significance in foreshadowing many aspects of impressionism in contrast to his UK peers.

  1. Information boards in Lichfield have been created, one for the cemetery and one, shared with the The Johnson Society, for Tamworth St in the City Centre where Petit formerly lived with his mother and sisters.
  2. The schools project has started (see special page). We are sponsoring an essay prize through the Young Historian annual essay competition. So far 4 schools are participating.
  3. We are planning at least three small exhibitions with local historical societies for next summer
  4. We were succesful in winning three small grants in 2020 which have greatly helped to meet the cost of our activities. Thanks to The Paul Mellon British Art Centre; the Swinfen Broun Trust and the Lichfield Conduit Lands Trust
  5. Thanks also to the members who have joined and supported the Society both in cash and kind. Every contact is much appreciated.


From Pau, France, 1859



Please address all queries to enquiries@revpetit.com

Close Menu