John Varley

The Ouse Bridge, York

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

Chalk, charcoal and gouache on paper
Support: 270 x 340 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

In this night scene, Varley used black chalk to outline the image. Forms were then filled in with a softer black chalk that has been smudged with a finger or stump. Varley seems to have reworked some of these areas further by going over them with a wet brush to disperse the pigment particles. The drawing has been subtly heightened with what initially appeared to be white chalk. However, closer inspection revealed that it is a white gouache that has been applied virtually dry. Ultraviolet examination revealed that Varley, like Lewis, was using the newly discovered zinc white.

Gallery label, August 2004