The technique of the miniature mosaic originates from Antiquity. It was continued and developed by the Byzantine mosaicists. Originally, the technique was based on the use of true marbles and pietre dure in the composition of the images.
From 1576 onwards, when the Vatican Mosaic Workshop was established for the embellishment of St. Peter's, the city of Rome became renowned for this technique throughout Europe. The micro-mosaic technique was further developed in the late 18th and early 19th century, making use of minute tesserae of fired coloured glass, derived from the multi-coloured strips, the smalti filati, produced in Venice, which placed next to each other, create painterly effects. The increasing demand for Roman mosaics made possible the flourishing of several independent workshops in the capital.
Vedute, usually depicting famous sights in and around Rome, such as the present lot, had long been popular with the grand tourist and these mosaics were produced for such a market. Their appeal was further heightened by their appearance at the International Exhibitions in Europe during the second half of the 19th century.