In 1802 Varley made his last tour of Wales and met William Havell and Joshua Cristall. In his early years Varley was influenced stylistically by the work of Thomas Girtin. In the Victoria and Albert Museum are watercolours that are direct copies after Girtin, for example: View of Cader Idris across Lake Bala, no. 1438-1869, see C.M. Kauffmann, John Varley, 1778-1842, London, 1984, p. 103, no. 12, illustrated). It has not been possible to find an exact prototype for the present watercolour and thus one cannot say that it is a direct copy, however the influence of Girtin is evident in both technique and composition. Varley went on to paint more formalised compositions in the manner of Claude and at this period his landscapes were at their most naturalisitic. Kauffmann writes about the watercolours of this period: 'It is in this period that they are closest to his original experience and most convincingly portray the awe-inspiring character of mountain scenery.' (Kauffmann, op.cit., p. 20).
For other works by John Varley, see lots 131-137.