Since the seventeenth century many an Englishman has 'indulged himself in a love affair with Venice'1
and William Callow was no exception. This watercolour is likely to be based on sketches that he executed during his 1865 trip to 'that Queen of cities' with Sidney Richard Percy. There, Callow was delighted to find his old gondolier, Jacomo, whom he had sought out on every trip to Venice since 1840, alive and well. The present watercolour, which dates to 1869, was exhibited at the Society of Painters in Water-Colour in that same year.
1. Country Life, 16 March 1972, p. 61