Varley, C.J., Journal of Astronomical Observations
American Philosophical Society
105 South Fifth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-3386
1 vol. 25 pp.
A member of a family of early 19th century artists and instrument makers that included Cornelius, John, and William Fleetwood Varley, C. J. Varley shared in the family interests in astronomy. During the first half of the nineteenth century, the children of Richard Varley of Hackney, England, grew into a remarkable assortment of artists, scientists, and instrument makers. Descendants of Oliver Cromwell, the five children lost their father in 1791 and were raised by their uncle Samuel who delighted in "Philosophical and Chemical progress," gaining hands-on experience in using and making electrical machines, telescopes, oxygen blow pipes and other scientific instruments. As adults, each of the children shared an abiding interest in art, astronomy, and scientific instrumentation. The eldest son, John (1778-1842) became an important watercolorist, art teacher and astrologer, and the youngest son, William Fleetwood Varley (1785-1856) was a gifted artist who began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1804. Cornelius Varley (1781-1873) was no less accomplished as a noted watercolor painter, but gained even wider renown as an instrument maker and inventor, specializing in telescopes and miscroscopes. The most obscure of the Varley children was C. J. Varley, who evidently shared in the family talents and interests in astronomy and art. At one point he listed himself as an "operative chemist." The Journal of Astronomical Observations includes brief notes on telescopic observations of comets, stars, and planets conducted by C. J. Varley between 1845 and 1858, accompanied by twenty ink and watercolor sketches.