Following the example of his friend David Wilkie who had visited Spain in 1827-8, Lewis set off for Madrid in the summer of 1832. From Spain he travelled to North Africa before returning to Madrid in September 1833 when he probably visited the Escorial. This building, part church, part palace and part library, is built out of granite. Lewis's view, painted on the spot, shows the south terrace and facade. In order to emphasise the immensity of the structure Lewis has added to the number of windows on the facade. He has livened up what one guide book called an 'ashy pile' by indicating red and blue window blinds.