Born in Modena, Joli enjoyed a highly successful career as a painter of vedute and capricci , working first in Italy and subsequently in England and Spain. The present work is a version of a composition painted by the artist on a number of occasions, notably for Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (Christie's, London, 3 July 2012, lot 33) and John James Heidegger (see R. Toledano, Antonio Joli, Turin, 2006, p. 188, no. V.I.1), commissions that attest to the popularity of Joli's work with British patrons.
Visible to the left is the Punta della Dogana, one of the points of arrival into the city from the Giudecca, with the Ducal Palace and the buildings along the Riva degli Schiavoni in the distance, while on the right is the church of San Giorgio Maggiore. Ralph Toledano has suggested that Joli first devised this composition during his stay in Venice, between 1732 and 1742, and records a version closely related to the present work, formerly with Thomas Agnew and Sons (op. cit., pp. 188 and 190, no. V.I.3).