John Varley

Thames Wharves and Barges

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
John Varley 1778–1842
Medium
Chalk on paper
Dimensions
Support: 131 x 182 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
Reference
T09320

Display caption

The watercolour painter John Varley was a contemporary of Turner. He specialised in rural, historic and ideal scenes, but he also often returned to subjects drawn from the commercial life of the river Thames. In these he would tend to focus on old buildings and modest riverside activity that conformed to the ideals of the Picturesque. However, the sense of spontaneity conveyed by this sketch suggests that even the most trivial details of urban life could be of intrinsic visual interest.

Gallery label, August 2004

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