We are grateful to Dr. Dario Succi for confirming the attribution; Dr. Succi dates the present pictures c. 1785.
The composition with the ruined archway was one of Guardi's favourite creations and no less than nineteen widely differing variations on the theme are catalogued by Morassi (A. Morassi, Guardi, Venice, 1973, I, pp. 487-90, nos. 956-74; II, figs. 845-59). While the pair of foreground figures are similar to those in possibly the finest of all the versions (ibid., I, p. 487, no. 956; II, fig. 845), the pair of figures at the wall in the centre, the resting workman at the right and the tomb on the wall by the archway relate it to that in the Sperling Collection, Indianapolis (ibid., p. 488, no. 962; II, fig. 859); that painting, however, lacks the distinctive hanging lantern. The present picture is in many respects closer than any of the other versions to the preparatory drawing for the composition in the Fondazione Horne, Florence (A. Morassi, Guardi. Tutti i disegni, Venice, 1975, p. 188, no. 640, fig. 621, where it is erroneously described as 'corresponding with' the painting in the Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris).
The composition with the tower is a variant of the right half of a large canvas in the National Gallery of Art, Washington (Morassi, op. cit., 1973, I, p. 462, no. 817; II, fig. 745; E. Garberson in D. De Grazia and E. Garberson, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue: Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Washington, 1996, pp. 134-8, illustrated, where dated to the 1760s). A version of that picture of more moderate dimensions is in the E. Gnutti Collection, Brescia (ibid., pp. 461-2, no. 816; II, fig. 744) and a preparatory drawing is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Morassi, op. cit., 1975, p. 184, no. 611, fig. 596; J. Bean and W. Griswold, 18th Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1990, pp. 131-2, no. 114, illustrated). The present picture includes fewer figures and omits the boats in the foreground and middle ground. A close version of the present painting, with the right hand group of three figures replaced by two different figures and a sailing boat included at lower left, is at Dublin (M. Wynne, Later Italian Paintings in the National Gallery of Ireland. The Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Dublin, 1986, p. 45, no. 819, fig. 62). It is also on an oval panel of identical size to the present work. Its status is, however, uncertain; Wynne catalogues it as 'style of Guardi' but this is partly based on a misinterpretation of Morassi's comment on the picture.