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THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
John Varley, drawing master and astrologist, was one of the most influential and seminal figures in the history of the development of watercolour painting. By 1800 he was a visitor at Dr Monro's house, falling under the influence of Thomas Girtin. Varley was amongst the founder members of the first formal association of watercolour artists; The Society of Painters in Water-Colour or O.W.S., who met for the first time on 30 November 1804 and of the 275 drawings in the first exhibition, 42 were by Varley. He also had one of the most successful teaching practices of the time, numbering amongst his pupils artists such as David Cox, John Linnell, William Mulready and William Turner of Oxford. Some of his favourite subjects were based on tours he completed to Wales, the North of England or along the banks of the River Thames, although towards the end of his career his works became less topographical and increasingly compositional. His influence was further felt by his publication of two drawing manuals and an astrological treatise; A Treatise on the Principles of Landscape Drawing, 1816-1821, A Pictorial Treatise on the Art of Drawing in Perspective, 1821 and A Treatise on Zodiacal Physiognomy, 1828.