View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Varley was the most sought-after drawing master of his time and the author of several drawing manuals. He wrote: 'The true exercise of art consists in contrasting the round with the square, the light with the dark, the hard with the soft, the far with the near.' 'Blots' provided Varley with a quick and effective method for working out imaginary landscape compositions which met these requirements. He has used broad, quickly applied washes boldly to suggest the trees and riverbank, leaving the white of the paper to act as the highlights.
Gallery label, August 2004