The composition of this drawing, in which the somewhat dilapidated, yet utterly picturesque scenery of the Temple of Serapis, at Pozzuoli, are depicted, is also known through a number of autograph versions by Pâris' celebrated contemporary, Hubert Robert.1
Robert's original design was subsequently engraved by Charles Guttemberg for inclusion in the Abbé de Saint-Non’s travel book Voyage pittoresque, ou description des royaumes de Naples et de Sicile
and the present drawing shares many compositional similarities with the engraving. There are, however, a number of notable differences, most significantly the two figures on the left side of the composition who are depicted in Robert's drawing and the print that is based on it as two women in conversation rather than, as here, a woman with a man whispering in her ear.
The robust handling of the red chalk medium found in this work can also be compared on stylistic grounds with a drawing by Pâris, depicting a view of The Fountain of Arethusa in the Gardens of the Villa d'Este,3 previously on the French art market in 2005.
1. See J.H. Fragonard e H. Robert a Roma, exhib. cat., Rome, Villa Medici, 1991, p. 99, no. 47, p. 127, tav. XV, reproduced
2. Ibid., p. 99, no. 47d, reproduced
3. Sale, Paris, Christie's, 17 March 2005, lot 383