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In Storage

John Varley (1778-1842)

A Welsh Valley

Varley was a prolific and successful watercolour painter who exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and the Old Watercolour Society, of which he was a founder member. He visited North Wales several times while in his twenties and it became a subject he would return to throughout his life.

This oil painting was made at a time difficult point in Varley's career when demand for watercolours was declining. It reflects the wild and rugged landscapes of the picturesque, defined by William Gilpin as 'that kind of beauty which is agreeable in a picture'. Gilpin praised nature but 'improved' it with artistic licence. The exaggerated shapes of the mountains also reflect the fashion for the sublime which made the terrifying power of nature a suitable subject for artists.

Medium oil on canvas
Date 1819
Dimensions 791mm x 1026mm
Acquisition Number SOTAG : 719
Credit Line Purchased in 1936 through the Frederick William Smith Bequest Fund