Tivoli exercised a magnetic attraction to landscape artists through its combination of hill top villas and temples overlooking an expansive countryside together with the wild torrents of the waterfalls of the river Aniene. In the present watercolour, Smith chooses a dramatic viewpoint to depict the Temple of Sibyl (also known as the Temple of Vesta): the falls below are hinted at with a rising mist of spray while the principal focus is directed at the bank of steep faced cliffs which lead up to the temple on the right. The vibrant green and yellow foliage is similar in tone to some of Francis Towne’s views of Tivoli (see T. Wilcox, Francis Towne, exh. cat., Tate, London, 1997, no. 27). Another view of The Temple of Sibyl by Smith is in the Oppé Collection, Tate, London.
For another view of Tivoli see lot 200.