In 1861 Lear was asked to make a large oil painting of Florence from the gardens of Villa la Petraja for his friend and patron Lady Waldegrave. The painting was sold in these Rooms, 17 June 2014, lot 9.
Lear, keen for a diversion following the death of his eldest sister, Ann, who had been a substitute mother to him since childhood, welcomed the opportunity of travelling again. He arrived in Florence on 8 June and spent the rest of the month sketching the city and its surroundings. The present watercolour dated 12 June depicts a view over the city looking south west from the Piazza Michelangelo, looking towards the Ponte Vecchio, with the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio to the right hand side.