John Varley

A Cottage and a Bridge under a Hill. Verso: Sketch

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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
John Varley 1778–1842
Graphite, watercolour and chalk on paper. Verso: graphite on paper
Support: 122 × 176 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

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Varley has used different dilutions of wash to create the loose forms of this image. In many places he has built up several layers of wash. In areas such as the lower left corner, these have been applied while the underlying layers were still wet, and the consequent 'bleeding' of the layers is clearly visible. The highlights were created in two ways. For the large areas of light on the building, Varley simply left the paper blank. In others, such as the reflections of light in the water, he scraped away the wash with the end of a paintbrush or a knife.

Gallery label, August 2004

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