Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle

ca. 1803
Cornelius Varley
1781-1873
Brown wash, brown gouache, and graphite with pen and brown ink on thick, moderately textured, cream wove paper
Sheet: 10 1/8 x 14 7/8 inches (25.7 x 37.8 cm)

In this work, the foreground trees and the background castle differ in style and medium. The windblown trees are wild and lush, with strokes that vary in fluidity and thickness, while the castle evokes precision and control. An optical device like a camera obscura may have been used to delineate it accurately, while the foreground may have been composed from memory, or as an expressive on-site reaction to frame the castle ruins; it is unclear which elements Varley executed on-site versus in a studio.

B1977.14.5389
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection