After training with Giovanni Paolo Panini, Joli moved to Venice in 1735 where he developed as a vedute painter under the influence of Canaletto. He then travelled widely throughout Europe, settling in London from 1744-8. There he worked at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, and painted view paintings for a variety of wealthy patrons.
The present work, a capriccio view of the Bacino di San Marco, seen through a vaulted loggia, is inscribed on one of the crates in the foreground 'M Lascelle/[L]ond'. This would suggest that the picture was painted during Joli's London period, a hypothesis supported by Mr. Ralph Toledano, to whom we are grateful. We are also grateful to Dr. Dario Succi who suggests an alternative date for the present work, during the artist's last sojourn in Venice around 1760.
The 'Lascelle' of the inscription may refer to Daniel Lascelles (1714-1784) of Goldsborough Hall, Yorkshire, M.P. for Northallerton. He may have commissioned the picture for his London residence, however, Borenius (loc. cit.) lists it as being at Goldsborough Hall, Yorkshire. This house (now destroyed) underwent significant refurbishing in the 1760s and was continuously inhabited by the Lascelles family until the 1930s.