Artworks and Artists
F.H. Varley
Born in Sheffield, England, 02 January 1881
Died in Unionville, Ontario, 08 September 1969
Reproduced courtesy Estate of Kathleen G. McKay

F.H. Varley

Frederick Horsman Varley was born in Sheffield, England, in 1881, and at the age of eleven was enrolled at the Sheffield School of Art. Following an apprenticeship as a designer in a local industry, he studied for two years at the Acadimie royale des beaux-arts in Antwerp, Belgium. Returning to England in 1903, Varley worked in London as a magazine illustrator, then went home to Sheffield. Jobs were scarce, however, and with a wife and two children to support, he was convinced by his friend and compatriot Arthur Lismer to relocate to Canada. In 1912 Varley began working at Grip Limited and then at Rous and Mann, where other future Group of Seven painters had also moved.

In his initial involvement with the Group, Varley preferred depicting people to trees, and in the early 1920s attempted to make a living as a portrait painter. Although he had some important commissions, the work did not prove sufficiently lucrative. He moved to Vancouver in 1926 to teach at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts.