Abandoned in the Middle Ages, Paestum was rediscovered in the middle of the 18th Century, soon after Pompeii and Herculaneum. The first publications on the three Doric temples dedicated to Hera, Apollo and Athena appeared between 1764 and 1784. During this time many travellers on their way to Sicily or Greece sailed past the Gulf of Salerno without stopping, and the group of Dutch antiquaries, including Nicolas Ten Hove (see lot 115), with whom Ducros travelled in the capacity of draughtsman in 1778, took the inland route from Naples to the Adriatic coast, also bypassing Paestum. Despite certain drawings in Lausanne which suggest that Ducros stopped at Paestum, he is not known to have visited the site at a later date, and he kept remarkably close to the compositional schemes in most contemporary publications, such as Rovine della Città di Pesto detta Posidonia, a collection of views of archaeological sites published in Rome in 1784.
In 1789 Ducros exhibited three large scale views at the Salon de la Société des Arts in Geneva. These were the present watercolour, the Temple of Concord (Agrigento) and Cascades at Terni, numbers 27, 29 and 37 respectively in the Notice des Tableaux, 1789.
Another watercolour of Paestum by the artist with slight differences to the figures is in the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (inv. no. D-796) and was exhibited at Kenwood House (J. Jacobs, op. cit., no. 40, illustrated in colour pl. VIII). A preparatory drawing for an etching and various proofs and counter-proofs of an outline etching, again with minor differences are also in Lausanne.