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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