Cornelius Varley, painter, printmaker and draughtsman, was essentially a scientist who practised art for pleasure. He came from a family of artists: his eldest brother John, known for his landscape watercolours, was the most successful; a sister and another brother were also artists, as were children from the next generation. Cornelius invented a type of camera lucida, a device which enabled him to project the image of an object onto a surface and trace it accurately. The image could be enlarged or reduced by varying the distances between object, prism and surface. He exhibited at the Society of Painters in Watercolours, of which he was a founder member, the Royal Academy and the Society of British Artists.
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