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John Linnell, 1792–1882
John Varley [1985, Cormack, YCBA Concise Catalogue]
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on panel
12 5/8 x 10 1/8 inches (32.1 x 25.7 cm)

Signed lower left: "1820", not signed

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
book | costume | landscape | man | portrait | reading
Associated People:
Varley, John (1778–1842), watercolour painter and art teacher
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

John Varley was one of the most prolific watercolor painters of the early nineteenth century and an inveterate teacher to both amateur and professional artists alike. He was also an avid astrologer with an insatiable enthusiasm for esoteric knowledge. He was one of John Linnell’s closest friends and, together with William Blake, they spent evenings together conjuring visions, mostly of prominent historical figures, which Blake would then sketch. In this portrait, Linnell consciously evokes Netherlandish paintings of the sixteenth century, paintings that Linnell and the artists in his circle, such as Samuel Palmer and “the Ancients,” were influential in reevaluating in Britain as an alternative model to the dominant aesthetic fostered by the Royal Academy, an institution that Linnell never joined.

Gallery label for installation of ycba collection, 2016

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, 148, 149, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Evan R. Firestone, John Linnell, English Artist: Works, Patrons, and Dealers [PhD Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin ], ProQuest, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1971, p. ix, No. 50, Film B98 YCBA [ORBIS]

John Lewis Roget, A history of the Old Water-Colour Society, now the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours; with biographical notices of its older and all deceased members and associates. Preceded by an account of English watercolour art and artists in the eighteent, Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge [Eng], 1972, p. 377, ND1713 R7 R64 1972 (YCBA) [YCBA]

R. J. B. Walker, Regency portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1985, p. 517 (vol. 1), N1090 A592 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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