Circle of Petit Exhibition

10.1  Falaise Castle,  Miss Emma Petit

1859, 26x36cm, watercolour on paper, private collection

Not always easy to tell from the photograph, this picture is attributed to his sister Emma because of the handwriting and labeling on the back, being part of a different series than one Petit himself used. Artistically it is also typical of Emma, the building does not stand as well, and the foliage impressions not as credible. Yet it was sold as a Rev Petit by a dealer who did not know better and had bought it in a big Petit lot at auction

10.2 Freybourg E Petit

1856, 26x36cm, watercolour on paper, private collection

A more obviously poor picture by Emma. The colours are jarring as well as the architecture not quite working. It includes her writing and number on the back, and was painted on the same day as the below picture by Petit himself, included for direct comparison.

Freybourg, Rev J L Petit


1856, 26x36cm, watercolour on paper, private collection

The real thing. Side by side the differences are obvious, however unfortunately many circle pictures have been sold as Petits.



10.3. Caerdeon, Maria Jelf (Nee Petit)

Undated, 26x36cm, watercolour on paper, private collection. Signed.

Maria painted in softer colours. Her husband, Rev Jelf commissioned Petit to build a church at Caerdeon in North Wales which was constructed from 1861-62. This could have been painted a few years before or after that date. As with Emma, both have characteristics of Petit, but yet are distinct.

10.4 Bois Guillaume, France, Attributed To Miss Emma Petit


1863, 24x36cm, watercolour on paper, private collection

This is a church example, again probably Emma, because of the handwriting and the series from which it is taken, but in fact hard to attribute definitively between the sisters. The left of the church is askew. Again offered as Petit. Many such pictures exist.

10.5 Tewkesbury Abbey, Elizabeth Haig (Nee Petit)


1862, 24x36cm, watercolour on paper, private collection, initialled on back

Elizabeth’s sometimes carry the initials (EH or EW – why W we do not know), and have this softer feel than Emma’s, and even more so than Maria’s. They can be attractive but unfortunately details, such as the river here, remain unconvincing.

10.6 Minieh, Egypt, probably Elizabeth Haig


1865, 27x36cm, watercolour on paper, private collection, 

At least two other family artists accompanied Petit in Egypt. One was Emma Petit, the other probably but not certainly Elizabeth. Their pictures survived in greater quantities. Many were done carefully and sold well (mistakenly as Petits) in the early part of the century.

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