De Wint’s apprenticeship to a mezzotint engraver proved, as with other artists, an excellent training for a career as a watercolourist. Later, Varley’s tuition was crucial to his development, encouraging breadth of handling and boldness in the application of washes. A Monro protégé, he also drew inspiration from the art of Thomas Girtin, and the dual influence is apparent in all his work. Like Cotman, he made one visit to France, but found the English landscape more congenial. The skills he had acquired enabled him to express his abiding love both for his profession and for the natural beauties of English scenery.
Lincoln, the North, the Trent, Thames and Dart, provided the early inspiration. Later he declared Wales to be the true painter’s country. Wherever he went, he never deviated from his established principles, and it is difficult to provide a chronological survey of his art, as he rarely signed or dated his pictures. He had a direct approach to nature, working with a full brush, without retouching, and allowed the paper to determine the luminosity of his compositions. As such all his works are an object lesson in watercolour technique to all artists, whether amateur, aspiring, or professional.
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