Like most of Robert's large decorative panels, the present lot was originally part of a more extensive scheme whose origins are unknown. It was still paired with its original companion in the celebrated collection of Eugène Kraemer, but the two were separated in the sale after his death. That painting, Figures in a Landscape with Roman Ruins and a Gothic Tower (lot 67 in the Kraemer sale), is of identical dimensions to the present lot and is fully signed and lengthily inscribed in Latin; it was sold last year at Sotheby's New York (24 January 2008, lot 92). The two paintings, as Joseph Baillio has observed, appear to date from the 1780s.
Our thanks to Joseph Baillio for confirming the attribution of the present painting and for his assistance in cataloguing it. This work will be included in the forthcoming critical catalogue of the paintings of Hubert Robert being prepared by The Wildenstein Institute.