Thanks again to the Walters Art Museum policy on having photos of their exhibits available to download, I’m again using their version rather than my considerably less sharp photo. The painting by Giovanni Paolo Panini is more favourable to the Colosseum and to the Arch of Constantine than they deserve, made more attractive for the purposes of the artwork. The artwork was painted in 1747, in the middle of the artist’s career.
The museum, keen to give the provenance of every artwork, notes the history of the ownership of this painting:
“Tyrwhitt-Drake, Shardeloes, Amersham, Buckinghamshire [date and mode of acquisition unknown]
Agnew, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]
David Koetser, London and New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown];
Walters Art Museum, 1954, by purchase.”
The first owner, Tyrwhitt-Drake, was from the family descended from Sir Francis Drake and it was purchased for their country home in Buckinghamshire. I imagine that it was collected as part of some grand tour of Europe by a younger member of the family. Agnew and Koetser are art dealers, so I assume that the family later needed the money and wanted to sell this painting.