John Varley

A Blot. Trees over a Lake

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
John Varley 1778–1842
Watercolour on paper
Support: 91 × 131 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

Varley painted many small, imaginary landscape sketches from the late 1830s onwards, and it is most likely that this drawing dates from this period. He advocated simplifying compositions, and the 'blot' method devised by Cozens was a particularly useful way of achieving this. He was very adept at the use of flat washes and this has been taken to extremes in this landscape 'blot'. A very wet ink was quickly put down in the central trees with a fully loaded brush. A drier brush was used for the surface of the lake.

Gallery label, August 2004

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