Although Carlo Bossoli was born in Lugano, he is considered to be an Italian artist, and travelled extensively throughout his life. He lived in Odessa for a number of years as well as travelling to a number of countries, including France, Spain, Morocco, Belgium, Finland, Poland, Denmark and Norway.
The present work was painted while the artist was in Turkey, from Üsküdar, looking out across the mouth of the Bosphorus to the Golden Horn. The Seraglio Point and the city of Constantinople are depicted in the distance on the left-hand side of the work and to the right are the districts of Pera and Galata.
The small island is Kiz Kulesi, otherwise known as Leander's Tower. Legend has it that Leander drowned there during an attempt to swim the strait to see his lover. This actually occurred, however, near Abydos in the Dardanelles. A tower was built there in the twelfth century as a small fortress, although the present building was erected in the eighteenth century.