Hard to believe this lovely painting is over 200 years old. How wonderful that something created during the artist's lifetime lives on so long after he is gone. We have added information about the artist at the end of the listing.
Country of Origin: England.
Signed and Dated: Lower Right Center "J. Varley 1809".
Size: Sight 6 1/4" by 11 1/2";
Condition: The painting is in Good to Very Good Antique Condition. The frame has damage (see photos).
John Varley (17 August 1778 - 17 November 1842) was an English watercolour painter and astrologer, and a close friend of William Blake. They collaborated in 1819-1820 on the book Visionary Heads, illustrated by Blake and written by Varley, who was the elder brother of Cornelius Varley.
John Varley was born at the Old Blue Post Tavern, Hackney, on 17 August 1778. His father, Richard Varley, born at Epworth in Lincolnshire, had settled in London after the death of his first wife in Yorkshire. For a brief time John Varley was employed by a portrait painter in Holborn and then, at the age of 15 or 16, he became a pupil of Joseph Charles Barrow (fl. 1789-1802), who had an evening drawing school twice a week at 12 Furnival's Inn Court, Holborn. It was Barrow who took Varley on a sketching tour to Peterborough from which he emerged as a professional painter. In 1798 he exhibited a highly regarded sketch of Peterborough Cathedral at the Royal Academy of Arts, London and became a regular exhibitor at the RA until the foundation of the Old Watercolour Society in 1805.
As one of the founders of the OWS Varley exhibited largely there, over 700 drawings. He also became a highly successful drawing master with pupils including Copley Fielding, David Cox, John Linnell and Turner of Oxford. Despite his success he was constantly in financial difficulties, "since he was both a hopeless businessman and by temperament something of a Micawber". (Mallalieu). Varley was particularly skilled at the laying of flat washes of watercolour, which suited the placid, contemplative mood that he often sought to evoke.
Varley published A Treatise on the Principles of Landscape Drawing, 1816-21 and A Practical Treatise on the Art of Drawing in Perspective. He also wrote an astrological text (with illustrations) entitled A Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy in 1828.
Unique Collectibles, Antiques and Fine Arts from Around the World
Never the ordinary...unique items chosen over the last 50 years of travel around the world.