This dramatic work is based upon studies Cozens made during his second trip to Italy. Cozens travelled in the retinue of the young William Beckford. They arrived in Padua on 18 June 1782, where Cozens made a sketch of a thunderstorm, which he used as the basis for this work. In his Italian travel journal, Beckford wrote, after a visit to the church of Santa Giustina in Padua, that ‘a peal of thunder reverberated through the vaults and cupolas, as I expected would have shaken them to their foundations. The principal dome appeared invested with a sheet of fire’.