Early Monochrome Pictures, mid 1830s
2.1. Canterbury Cathedral (Showing NW Tower Under Demolition) Rev J L Petit
1832 or 1833, 19x13cm, watercolour on paper, private collection.
One of the rare pictures that can be accurately dated, because it shows the old north west tower starting to be demolished, which occurred in late 1832, or early1833. Already Petit is developing his own dramatic view point of churches and dispensing with Prout’s passers-by, so as to paint the pure church.
2.2 Irthlingborough Church, Northants; Rev J L Petit
c1830-35, 19x13cm, watercolour on paper, private collection.
This drawing is representative of the next stage in Petit’s style, no longer following Prout or anyone else. This exact drawing is copied as an illustration on page 73 of volume 2 of Remarks, where Petit is describing the attractions of dominant towers of different designs.
2.3 Mines At Wolverhampton, Rev J L Petit
c1830-35, 15x20cm, watercolour on paper, private collection.
Petit was never just interested in churches, and frequently undertook scenes of wider interest. This is one of the only known pictures of the industrial landscape of the Black Country before 1850. Wholly un-commercial in the romantic early Victorian time, Petit was not constrained by such considerations.
2.4 St Peter’s Wolverhampton, Rev J L Petit
c1830-35, 27x20cm, watercolour on paper, private collection.
From the same visit as the above, St Peter’s was a favourite of Petit’s until its restoration, following losing its independence in 1848. Here he perfectly captures its character derived from its long history at the centre of Wolverhampton
2.5 Fairlight, Sussex. Rev J L Petit
c1825-35, 13x16cm, watercolour on paper, private collection.
Less common than the dark monochrome are the grey washes (grisaille), such as this of Fairlight Church in Sussex, one of several from Sussex in this style. Petit used this style later for exhibitions too, such as the picture of Buildwas Abbey on the home page.
2.6 Neuer Kirke, Delft, Rev J L Petit
circa 1833, 20x29cm, watercolour on paper, private collection.
This is unusually large for that period. As he describes in his first book, Remarks on Church Architecture, he visited the Netherlands from Harwich during the time that he served as curate in nearby Bradfield, until 1834. These are believed to be his first trips abroad. A different view of this church is illustrated opposite page 160 of vol 2. “Delft – here are two very fine churches, the old and the new, although there appears but little difference in date”
2.7 Mayfield, Staffordshire, Rev J L Petit
c1834, 17x16cm, watercolour on paper, private collection.
One of the earliest examples of another of Petit’s favourite scenes, the church in the village or town in which it is set. Any distinction between purely ecclesiastical and non-ecclesiastical subjects can be strained, as this beautifully demonstrates.