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Varley was of the same generation as Girtin and Turner, and shared their innovative approach to the techniques and subject matter of watercolour painting. Here, though, he seems to be looking back to the traditions of panoramic views of particular places, especially the work of Thomas Hearne. Varley would have seen Hearne’s watercolours in the collection of Dr Thomas Monro, a physician and art enthusiast who had an important role to play in encouraging experimentation among younger watercolour painters.

September 2004