Sir William Gell

1 portrait

Sir William Gell, by Cornelius Varley, 1816 - NPG 5086 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir William Gell

by Cornelius Varley
pencil, 1816
19 3/4 in. x 13 5/8 in. (502 mm x 346 mm)
Purchased, 1976
Primary Collection
NPG 5086


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Cornelius Varley is best known for his landscape watercolours. For his portraits he used his 'Patent Graphic Telescope' (patented by him in 1811), a form of camera lucida, consisting of a simple arrangement of lenses which project an image on to a flat surface so that it can be easily traced. Typically he used pencil for these drawings of which this is an exceptionally powerful example.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 95
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 240
  • Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 199

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