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Although some travellers to Italy at this date chose to make the voyage mainly by sea, many others selected a route overland. One of these routes took the traveller southwards through France, via Paris and the Sâone and Rhône valleys. This was clearly the route followed by William Marlow on his trip to the continent between 1765 and 1766. On his return to England, Marlow produced many versions of his Italian and French landscapes (both in watercolour and in oils). They served as 'souvenir' pictures for those who had made the grand tour. In the foreground of this watercolour are two of the ruined piers of the medieval bridge of St Benézét, the so-called 'Pont d'Avignon' immortalised in the song of the same name.

August 2004