Painter and draughtsman, notable for sunlit landscapes with figures, born in Norfolk, whose parents separated when he was an infant. By the time he was five his mother was unable to handle him and he was placed in a children’s home and school for 10 years, where he began to draw. At Brighton School of Art in 1967 Petley’s request for a transfer from the commercial to the fine art course was refused, so he left in the first term. He spent a year on the continent studying art in museums and galleries, earning his living with instant sketches, which honed up his draughtsmanship. Back in Britain, Petley supported himself partly with various jobs while showing in small galleries, influences on his work including Constable, Turner, Sargent, Sickert, Lavery, Campbell Mellon and Seago.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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