John Varley
Sketch for ‘Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy’ 1828

Artwork details

John Varley 1778–1842
Sketch for ‘Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy’
Date 1828
Medium Graphite on paper
Acquisition Purchased 1997
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

This is one of Varley’s designs for the Zodiacal Physiognomy (the relevant page is reproduced in a bound leaflet in this room). Varley included in the treatise a sketch after Blake’s Head of the Ghost of a Flea (hanging nearby) and two other profiles, which are labelled in the book as Gemini and Cancer. It seems that Varley may have used a living model at some stage, as the younger figure shown here appears to be named ‘Hannah’.

March 2011

About this artwork