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This painting shows four friends during their Grand Tour, the journey made by wealthy young gentlemen to Italy in search of antique and modern culture that was popular in the late-18th century. The Colosseum, urn and drawing of Palladian architecture allude to the friends’ classical learning and experience. Dance-Holland studied and worked in Italy from 1754 to 1766. As well as painting on classical subjects, he produced portraits of British tourists passing through Rome. The artist was commissioned to produce four versions of this painting, one for each sitter.