John Varley
Monochrome Composition: A Blot 1804

Artwork details

John Varley 1778–1842
Monochrome Composition: A Blot
Date 1804
Medium Watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 108 x 144 mm
Acquisition Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

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.

August 2004

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