RPS Publications, Shop

RPS Publications is the publishing arm of The Petit Society. To date we have published three books described below – all have been well reviewed. We have also written a number of research notes and produced other items such as posters and greeting cards. RPS Publications now has the editorial, design and commissioning printing experience to extend its activities. You do not have to be a member or associate member to submit work for publication, but it must be relevant to Petit, his circle or contemporaries. As with most other art publishers we can make a contribution to publishing costs but these are unlikely to be sufficient.

There is no on-line shop, apologies if that is misleading. But we sell a few things directly, taking payment by Paypal, card or bank transfer: publications, and most recently greeting cards, certificates, and prints occasionally. For all items contact us on enquiries@revpetit.com, or from 1st June 2022 directly at rpspubs@jlpetit.com. 

Those joining the Petit Society are entitled to receive any one of these publications free.

1. Books



Petit’s Tours of Old Staffordshire

The first book on Petit, focusing especially on his art from Staffordshire and in the form of tours that anyone can follow, came out in March 2019. Below is the flyer for it. The book can be ordered on-line from www.amazon.co.uk. or from us directly, or via bookshops across Staffordshire, and St Peter’s giftshop in Wolverhampton. Cost £14.00

“The story of nineteenth-century British church architecture is mainly that of the Gothic Revival, because it was written by its proponents. Little is known of the widespread damage that restoration inflicted on our medieval heritage and of the few brave men standing against the Revival. Reverend John Louis Petit, a brilliant watercolourist, was a leading opponent. In his writing and speaking he employed his art to demonstrate the diverse beauty of historic styles in order to stem the losses of the old and argue for originality in the new. Yet his art was lost and his writing practically forgotten.

As well as introducing Petit’s art, battles and achievements, the book takes readers on eight off-the-beaten-track tours of the overlooked county of Staf- fordshire, the scene of his famous dispute with Gilbert Scott at Stafford, his home town of Lichfield and the Cathedral he loved to paint, and many other churches that he used to illustrate his writings. The reader can find the exact spot where the artist sat, compare with the present, and see the changes wrought by restoration, or time.”

  • Reviews of the book (all favourable) have been published by:
    • The British Art Journal
    • The Historian
    • The Black Countryman
    • Select (a Wolverhampton magazine)
    • Ancient Monument Society Newsletter
    • Staffordshire Newspapers covering Stafford, Stone, Stoke, Uttoxeter, Leek, Lichfield, and Asbourne (Derbyshire)
  • The book was long-listed for the William MB Berger 2020 prize for art books published during 2019

Clarke, Petit and St Mark’s – A 19th Century Journey on the Isle of Man

This booklet tells the story of John Thomas Clarke (1798-1888), Petit’s lifelong friend, who transformed the derelict district of St Mark’s, Isle of Man, with Petit’s help; and then late in life rescued Petit’s church at Caerdeon after Petit had tied, becoming its first vicar. Like Petit, Clarke has been forgotten even at St Mark’s through a combination of intrigue and accident. The booklet (48 pages) illustrates nearly all known Petit’s watercolours – 26, which have never been seen before.

For visitors, Islanders and students, a history book, an art book and a little tour.

A story of two good men, their achievements in the 19th Century, and how they came to be erased from history.

An off-the beaten-track journey to see parts of the Island as they appeared nearly 200 years ago, using lost art never shown before.

Available direct from us, or Amazon, launched on the Island in Spring 2022. Due to have a small launch in the UK late 2022. Cost £9.50. ISBN: 9781916493117

Further information supplementing footnotes is available HERE

The book received favourable reviews in the local isle of Man newspaper and the author was interviewed twice on Manx Radio. Following the launch at St Mark’s in June 2022 there is a proposal to develop commemorative boards about Clarke and Petit in the village.

JL Petit – Britain’s Lost Impressionist

This book was published on 8th September 2022. It is the first book to provide an easy to read complete overview of Petit’s art. 124pp, 110 illustrations, cost £20.00. 

 It has been well reviewed in numerous media including The Guardian, Antique Collecting, Country Life, The Church Times, The Tablet, BlackCountryman, and various regional publications. The book is now in its second printing. It is also being promoted at literature festivals.

It was endorsed by several highly respected art experts. The most detailed reads: “There has been nothing like this in the field of British art for a long time. This book marks the rediscovery of a more or less completely forgotten master – an artist whose work, particularly in the medium of watercolour, reaches the highest peaks of innovation and virtuosity, worthy of comparison with that even of Turner….

High praise, but not too high. What is also extraordinary about Petit’s work is the breadth of his subject matter and his remarkable lack of sentimentality. Few Victorian artists chose to bear witness to the effects of the Industrial Revolution on the fabric of life in this country, but Petit did anything but shy away from it: he painted factories and smogs with the same impassioned interest that he brought to the more traditional themes of the English watercolorist, such as village, church and cathedral.  In this sense he is a prophet of Impressionism, a true “painter of modern life”, to borrow a phrase from Baudelaire. What Lawrence Gowing once did for Thomas Jones, Philip Modiano has done for Petit. He deserves our thanks and our congratulations.” Andrew Graham-Dixon


Other Items Available from RPS

  1. Recently Published Articles

The Historian

  • Junior Historian Prize Essay. Published in the Historian October 2021, and also posted on our schools page here 
  • Article on St James, Gerrards Cross, and Petit’s influence. The Historian July 2021

About St Philip’s Caerdeon:

British Listed Buildings about St Philip’s Caerdeon, available on-line see https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/300005249-st-philips-church-barmouth#.Xgoehy90dQM

Article on Petit’s Church by Rachel Morley, Director, Friends of Friendless Churches. Available on-line : see: http://friendsoffriendlesschurches.org.uk/latest-from-the-friends/the-reverend-the-rogue-architect/

Academic Articles:

1. ‘The Beauty of Churches’ November 2017 (volume 18, no2) article in the British Art Journal (http://www.britishartjournal.co.uk) is the first serious overview of his artistic achievements and illustrates how his style developed over his career.  Available for copying and postage charge from us

2. ‘Standing up to the Neo-Gothicists’ Ecclesiology Today, journal of the Ecclesiological Society (http://ecclsoc.org) July 2018 vol 55-56 issue. This assesses his contribution to architectural thought and especially his emphasis on preservation, originality, and beauty. Available for a copying and postage charge from us

3. ‘ J L Petit Lost Progressive Artist’ Forthcoming 2021 British Art Journal, demonstrates how Petit moved in a different direction to the rest of British art in the mid-19th Century, between Turner and the continental impressionists. Not yet available.

Petit’s Works

For a copying charge we can make copies or send out images of pages of articles. Petit’s books are often listed on Abe Books. Sometimes we can help with finding a copy. The main research libraries have a selection.

2. Greeting Cards

A very recent development, we offer packs of five cathedral pictures £8 and of three – £5.00. Other series may be introduced later. usually these are by request of a particular location. artworks, and also offer certificates of authenticity where requested. 

3. Artwork


We are committed to encouraging widespread ownership and enjoyment of Petit as well as good public collections. Where we can we match buyers and sellers, but the Society does not aim to sell directly.

Limited Edition Prints

Almost any of Petit’s artworks can be copied as a limited edition print. Either the Society’s or a member’s with whom we are in touch. Nearly all have agreed to this for a token fee. However the process for creating one which closely matches the original is time-consuming. So we make a minimum charge of £50, reducing for quantity. All prints are limited to a run of 50 or 100.

4. Certificates

We will continue to provide informal quick opinions on images sent to us by email. On occasion we have been asked for a formal certificate of authenticity. In cases where we can provide this (ie we have no doubt) we make a charge of £12, for the half hour or so it takes to write it up, print and send it out. Size A6 (one quarter of an A4 page).

Close Menu