The city of Massa is located twenty miles south-east of Spezia, on the Italian mainland looking over the Bay of Naples towards Vesuvius. The buildings at the foot of the hill in the present drawing may include the Ducal Palace and the Cathedral of Massa.
The present work was drawn for Lear's close friend Robert A. Hornby (1805-57) of Winwick Hall, Warrington. He was the son of the Reverend J. J. Hornby, vicar of Winwick, and great-nephew of the 12th Earl of Derby. A man of independent means, he helped support Lear in his first visit to Italy in 1837.
A watercolour by Lear of The Ducal Palace Massa, Northern Italy, was sold in these Rooms on 26th March 2004, lot 132 for £8,500.
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