Similar to a watercolour by Williams of the same view in the Benaki Museum, Athens (no. 25194), dated 1819, the present lot depicts the city of Thebes, at one time a major rival to Athens, in a particularly Claudian manner.
On visiting Thebes in 1839 the Reverend S.S. Wilson, overwhelmed by the history of the area, exclaimed 'What a sight! What vivid recollections! There, Homer's chivalric bands had fought, and sinned and bled. There, many a bard had sung, many a hero had multiplied widows and orphans...There, inspired apostles had taught 'the glorious gospel'' (F.-M. Tsigakou, The Rediscovery of Greece, London, 1981, p.71).
For further information on Williams see lot 181.