This painting is mentioned by Fritzsche, loc. cit., as an anonymous derivation from Canaletto’s etching (R. Bromberg, Canaletto’s Etchings, London and New York 1974 and 2nd ed., San Francisco, 1993, pp.66-71, no. 6, illustrated). Constable, who seems to have only known the painting from a reproduction in the catalogue of the Beurdeley sale of 1920, also describes it as the work of ‘an imitator of Canaletto’. This verdict is repeated by Dobos, loc. cit. Judging from the transparency there seems, however, no reason to doubt that it is an authentic late work by the artist.
Two other versions are known, both similar size but both with different figures and other variations, one in a private collection, Padua (J.G. Links, A Supplement to W.G. Constable’s Canaletto, London, 1998. p.35, no371*; exhibited Mira, Villa Principe Pio,Immagini della Brenta: Ville Venete e scene di vita sulla Riviera nel ‘700 veneziano, 1996, pp.150-2, no. 27, illustrated in colour), the other in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (Links, op. cit., pp.35-6, no.373*, pl.272; Dobos, op. cit.,pp.204-6, no.53, illustrated in colour). Both those paintings are also recent rediscoveries, the Budapest painting having recently been found to be signed on the reverse. All three paintings are datable after Canaletto’s return to Italy from England, which is presumed to have taken place in 1755, all being redolent of the late period in their tonality, calligraphic swirls and dotted highlights. Canaletto’s use of his etching of the early 1740s is entirely characteristic of his modus operandi.
A number of mainland views by Canaletto of similar date share the same dimensions and it may be presumed that this painting was originally accompanied by at least one pendent (see Links,op. cit., p.36).
For the great collector Alfred Beurdeley, see for instance, F. Lugt, Les Marques de Collections, 1921, pp. 72-5, and Supplement, 1956, p.60 and The Dictionary of Art, ed. J.Turner, London, 1996, 3, p.889. He also owned an impressive early View of Santa Maria Zobenigo, Venice by Francesco Guardi, which was lot 140 in his posthumous sale, and sold at Christie’s, New York, 26 January 2005, lot 76.