Like many of his contemporaries, Varley was greatly interested in spontaneous methods of inventing compositions. This little study appears to be entirely impromptu, and can be related to the random ‘blots’ that Varley and others used to prompt their designs. Nonetheless, the key elements of balanced and classical Claudian landscape are in place. Claude’s landscapes, with their tranquil lakes, castles and limpid light, were admired immensely. They provided artists with a set of conventions that were applied to depictions of the national landscape.