Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd

  • Pencil with stump on wove paper
  • 9 × 14 ¼ inches · 231 × 362 mm
  • Signed and inscribed 'Cristal [sic] under his Parasol/ View on the River Wye Cornelius Varley July 12 1803 in ink upper centre to upper right and further inscribed July 12' in pencil upper right


  • The artist;
  • And by descent to
  • Mr. and Mrs. G.L.V. Walker, Birmingham;
  • P. & D. Colnaghi, London, 1973;
  • Charles Ryskamp, acquired from the above, 1973, to 2011


  • London, Victoria & Albert Museum, Joshua Cristall 1768-1847, February-April 1975, no. 297;
  • New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, Sketching at Home and Abroad: British Landscape Drawings, 1750-1850, May-August, 1992;
  • New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, Varieties of Romantic Experience: Drawings from the Collection of Charles Ryskamp, February – April 2010, no. 34


  • Michael Pidgley 'Cornelius Varley, Cotman, and the Graphic Telescope,' The Burlington Magazine, Vol. CXIV, November 1972, p. 782;
  • Julian Mitchell, The Wye Tour and Its Artists, 2010, p. 95.

The present work was drawn in 1803 during Cornelius Varley's tour of Wales with his fellow artist Joshua Cristall (1768-1847).  By the early nineteenth century the River Wye, for so long the main trading route from Chepstow in Wales to Hereford in England, had become an important destination for artists and tourists in search of the 'picturesque' landscape.

In this carefully observed work Varley concentrates upon the unusual rock formation and the charming image of his friend sketching on the river bank.  Cristall returned to the Wye valley in 1823 moving to the village of Goodrich where he lived until 1841.