Lot 56
  • 56

Antonio Joli

2,000,000 - 3,000,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Antonio Joli
  • London, a view of the City of Westminster over the river Thames from Lambeth
  • oil on canvas
  • 59 3/8 x 109 1/2 inches


Thought to have been acquired by a page to the Emperor Napoleon in the years 1811-14;
Thence by descent to a European aristocrat;
By whom sold, London, Christie's, 9 July 1993, lot 100, where acquired.


R. Middione, Antonio Joli, Soncino 1995, pp. 23 and 25;
M. Manzelli, Antonio Joli, Opera pittorica, Venice 1999, pp. 106-08, cat. no. L.12, reproduced in color plate XLIII;
R. Toledano, Antonio Joli, Turin 2006, p. 227, cat. no. L.III.1, reproduced.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This work is restored to a very high level. The large canvas is well lined. The surface is well textured and attractive. The paint layer is clean. The varnish is good. The retouches are extremely fine. These retouches are all clearly visible under ultraviolet light. As one would expect from an 18th century picture of this scale, there have been losses. There is very little abrasion, but numerous small losses have occurred over time in quite a few areas because of the weave of the canvas. Larger losses have also occurred. In particular, there is a vertical group of restorations on the left side of the sky between the two churches running about 18 inches, and at the top of this line there is a fairly significant loss of about 6 inches wide. The original canvas is joined vertically through the center of the composition. There are retouches along this join in the sky. There is a fairly large restoration in the blue to the left of the cloud mass on the right side. There are numerous isolated paint losses elsewhere which have also received restoration. The river seems to be generally in better state. There is a diagonal break beneath one of the barges in the lower left, but the remainder of the water is healthy. The city on the other side of the river shows small retouches, but a good deal of health remains to this paint layer. As one would expect, the dark browns in the building and landscape in the lower right have weakened and acquired restoration. The paint layer has a lovely texture to it, and the paint has an attractive patina. Despite the restorations, the condition is good.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

This magnificent view of London by Antonio Joli was painted during the artist's London sojourn, which lasted between 1743/44 and 1749/50. The painting is among Joli's largest known works and stands out for its quality and ambition. Until its sale in 1993 (see Provenance), the painting hung with two other large works by Joli, a View of Rome, with the Castel Sant'Angelo and Saint Peter's in the distance (145 by 328.5 cm.), and a View of Madrid with the Palacio Real (150 by 224.5 cm.).

The design closely follows Canaletto's superlative view of London in the Lobkowicz collection in Prague (fig. 1; 116 by 238 cm).1 Canaletto painted that work in 1746/47 and it probably remained in his studio in London, where Joli would undoubtedly have seen it, until it was acquired by Ferdinand Filip, Prince of Lobkowicz, in 1752. Joli must have known the picture first-hand for he is faithful to the prototype in most of the buildings but in particular in the meticulous description of the boats. In Canaletto’s treatment of the view, the parapet of Westminster Bridge is shown as incomplete and the description of Lambeth Palace to the right is different. Joli's view met with such success that he executed a smaller variant (117 by 179 cm.), which hangs in the Bank of England in London.2 A further variant, painted with studio participation, is in the Abegg Foundation, Riggisberg.3

The identifiable buildings are:
1. Saint John’s Church, Smith Square
2. Brewhouse of the Crosse family
3. Factory of Mr. Grey, engine maker
4. Mr. Scott’s Brewhouse
5. Barnard’s Yard
6. House of Battey Langley, architect and author of an unexecuted design for Westminster Bridge, also wood-wharf of Charles Dixon, and stoneyard of Andrew Jelf, the masonry-contractor for Westminster Bridge.
7. Westminster Hall and the turrets of the House of Commons. Below are the trees of the Cotton and Speaker’s Gardens
8. Saint Margaret’s Church
9. Bear Inn, Bridge Street
10. Banqueting House
11. York Buildings Water Tower
12. The Temple
13. Standgate
14. Lambeth Palace

1. See W.G. Constable, Canaletto, Oxford 1962, vol. II, pp. 386-87, cat. no. 426, reproduced vol. I, plate 78.
2. See Toledano, under Literature, p. 228, cat. no. L.III.2, reproduced. 
3. Ibid., p. 229, cat. no. L.III.3, reproduced.