Petley paints en plein air to depict the wide expanse of English beaches and the gentle allure of Venetian landscapes. His works have been likened to those of John Constable, Edward Seago, and Campbell Mellon, British painters whose styles were influenced by the Barbizon School and Impressionism.
Beginning life in a children's home, he became one of the first artists to open an art gallery in Cork Street, a prestigious street lined with art galleries in London's Mayfair. His works are popularly collected by British royalty, including Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
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