William Taverner, a lawyer by profession, was also a talented amateur watercolourist. The majority of his paintings depict imaginary, ideal compositions in the manner of the great classical masters, Lorrain, Poussin and Dughet. This subject is an Italianate ‘capriccio’ (a composite of different subjects) featuring a classical temple in the distance resembling the Temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli. Although highly respected as an artist, Taverner was reluctant to display his work, and, according to one contemporary, ‘had much quaking abt. shewing his pictures’.