Cornelius Varley (British, London 1781–1873 London)
Watercolor over graphite
sheet: 6 7/16 x 14 3/8 in. (16.4 x 36.5 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1973
Not on view
Cornelius Varley (brother of the better-known watercolor teacher John Varley, whose distinguished pupils included John Linnell, David Cox, and William Turner of Oxford) took a bold approach to sketching in the landscape. Whereas earlier generations of British painters had sought topographical accuracy, Varley privileged color, emotion, atmosphere, and spontaneity. His resulting attempts to capture fleeting moments out-of-doors have an appealing, proto-modern abstraction. The present view, probably made during a trip to Wales in 1802, records a sunrise using a few well-placed strokes of watercolor. Regrettably, it would have few successors: by the end of the decade, Varley would redirect his passion for observation to the invention and improvement of optical instruments.
Inscription: In pen and black ink: "Craig Goch / Moel Hebog from near Harlech or Traeth Bach"
Mr. and Mrs. G.L.V. Walker; Vendor: P. & D. Colnaghi & Co.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 28, 2002–April 21, 2002.
Michael Pidgley "Cornelius Varley, Cotman, and the Graphic Telescope." Burlington Magazine. November 1972.
"Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions." Burlington Magazine. March 1973, p. 193.