Completed British 18th C, except portraits, Continental European before 1800 11 Can we pinpoint when Edmund Garvey painted this view of Rome?

Distant View of Rome
Topic: Execution date

1783 is the date of its presentation as a diploma picture. It could have been painted a lot earlier, for Garvey exhibited two distant views of Rome at the Society of Artists in 1769. Those familiar with the approaches to Rome could tell whether this is one of these – either no 127 A view of Rome from the Florence Road or no 128 A view from Albano towards Rome.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

1 attachment

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The date has been adjusted to c.1783.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


The Collection has commented: 'It is the case that 1783 was the date this work was presented as a Diploma Work by Garvey to the Academy. It is likely it was painted before this date, after Garvey’s travel to Rome in the late 1760s. However, he produced many views of Rome, not just in situ, but on his return to England – probably from studies made in Italy but also based on other landscape works he had at his disposal. So this work could possibly date from 1768-9, but could also date from any time in the 1770s. The only certainty is that it was finished before 1783, the year it was presented to the Academy. Happy for a public discussion to be opened if it might lead to more information.'

Martin Hopkinson,

The river might suggest that this is a view from the north of Rome making A View from the Florence Road more likely

Michael Liversidge,

Garvey is a difficult artist to date - his technique can be variable, but generally hardly changes across his career. This would be typical of the time he was elected RA (when a critic described him as a 'miserable mushroom'), to the astonishment of many others. I think you might find various views of Rome among his numerous RA exhibits, and there are several among the pictures by him hanging in darkened corners of country houses. My own records and files mostly concern Garveys wrongly reattributed to Marlow, but they are locked down in the university, and I am currently hors de combat u ndergoing not very nice chemo-therapy, so will not be able to look at the records until autumn.

Michael Liversidge,

Thank you for those dates. I'd be inclined to take the later, c1783, as he 'feathering' technique for the leaves of the trees is more like EG's later style: his earlier, denser handling can be found in the paintings he did for Parker at Saltram in 1770s. Also, I imagine a diploma work would be around the time he became a full Academician.

Jacob Simon,

"Can we pinpoint when Edmund Garvey painted this view of Rome?"

It is indeed sad that Michael Liversidge is no longer with us. No-one knew/knows more about Garvey than he did. I suggest that we respect his view and answer the discussion question accordingly, so accepting circa 1783 as the date of this work.

Marcie Doran,

I thought that this discussion was deserving of some additional research before it closes. A date of c.1783 does seem to make sense.


I’ve based my composite on another version of this scene, 'An Extensive View of Rome and the River Tiber', at Sotheby’s in 2012, which has the dimensions 40.5 x 102 cm:

It seems to me that the Art UK work is later than the Sotheby’s work – for example the trees are fuller. Garvey has also changed the figures – the beggar on the roadway is now a woman with a baby and the woman with the basket on her head and her companion are now one man.


The Sotheby's catalogue indicates that "another version of this picture by Garvey was sold in London, Christie's, 13th July 1984, lot 78, where it was described as a version of Garvey's diploma work."

I don't have access to the Artnet website, but perhaps that work in the 1984 auction is 'Landscape with distant view of Rome', at the link below. It is similar to the work on Art UK but smaller (69.5 x 95 cm).


Looking through the RA catalogues, I noticed that Garvey’s 'A view near Rome' in 1771 (no. 82) has an asterisk beside it, indicating that it was "to be disposed of". I'm assuming that means that it was sold. His two views near Rome at the RA in 1773 (no. 112, no 113) also both have asterisks. His 'A view from Albano towards Rome' was at the RA in 1778 (no. 123). It also has an asterisk beside it.


Was anyone able to figure out if this is the view of Rome from Florence or a view of Rome from Albano? Is it the same approach to Rome as the one in the link below?

Jacob Simon,

As Martin Hopkinson said (11/06/2021), the river might suggest that this is a view from the north of Rome making "A View from the Florence Road" more likely. I'd go further and say this distant view is certainly from the north, with St Peters on the right.

Marcie's painting with a close view of Castel S Angelo is a view from within the city rather than a distant view.