Among Guardi’s most characteristic capricci are those that show arches and gateways. This sparkling example, unknown until 2003 and thus not recorded by Antonio Morassi, belongs to a group of seven compositions (for the others see A. Morassi, Guardi, Venice, 1971, I, nos. 966-71, II, figs. 846, 855, 852, unillustrated, 851 and 850 respectively): of these two, one in the National Gallery, London and the second formerly in the Mont collection, New York (ibid. nos. 966 and 967), both smaller, are of vertical format, while the others are horizontal, extending the composition significantly on the right. The London picture shows an almost identical house through the vaulted archway, two similarly placed figures in the right foreground, although these are less dramatically silhouetted against the sunlit wall behind them, and two others, one also with a staff, but differently posed on the right. As the position of the lantern in this and the National Gallery picture indicates, the design of the archway was evolved from that of the portico of the Ducal Palace at Venice: Morassi (nos. 774-81) records eight vertical capricci based on this, one of which, formerly with Speelman (no. 778, fig. 771) shows the lantern in the corresponding position. The picture is presumably close in date to the smaller variant in the National Gallery, which Michael Levey dated to the mid-1770s.