John ‘Warwick’ Smith arrived in Italy around 1776. According to his fellow artist, Thomas Jones, by February 1778 Smith was living in lodgings to the north-east of Rome ‘about 2 miles without the Porta Pia’, where this watercolour was made. Since Smith’s view is inscribed as looking towards ‘the hills of Frascati and Monte Cavo’, the direction of the light indicates it must have been made at sunrise rather than sunset - and, indeed, most of the shutters on the prominent building to the left are still closed.
Gallery label, April 2007
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