A study for a fresco painted by Prospero Fontana for a ceiling in the Palazzo Vitelli a S. Egidio in Città di Castello, between Arezzo and Perugia (V. Fortunati Pietrantonio, Pittura bolognese del'500, Bologna, 1986, I, p. 382).
Trained by Innocenzo da Imola and Perino del Vaga, whom he assisted on the decoration of Palazzo Doria in Genoa, Fontana worked chiefly in Rome and Bologna. His work in Palazzo Vitelli is usually dated between 1556 and 1560, after he had worked on the decoration of the Villa Giulia in Rome for Pope Julius III and before his sojourn at Fontainebleau with Primaticcio.
There are many differences between the drawing and the fresco. Fontana has added figures - in particular flying putti and some servants - and other details such as pieces of silverware and the symbols of the different gods. But he has reused with no change some of the figures in the drawing, most notably the old man on the far left.
A copy of this drawing was sold at Sotheby's, London, 22 April 1998, lot 42. It shows that the shape was originally octagonal, as in the fresco, and that there was another figure on the extreme left. This alteration may have been made when the drawing was mounted with a distinctive border for Lord Yarmouth.