Known by his contemporaries as 'More of Rome', Jacob More was famous for his brilliantly-lit Italianate landscapes. He arrived in Rome in 1773, and adapted his training as a scene painter in Edinburgh and London to give his pictures a vivid and dramatic impact. His works were so much admired that in 1781 he was elected to the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, and three years later he was asked to paint a self-portrait for the collection at the Uffizi.
The present work is thought to possibly have been influenced by Claude. More may have seen Claude's Rest on the Flight in the Doria-Pamphilj Gallery in Rome, and painted a picture of the subject himself, in addition to the present picture (see P. Andrew, op.cit.). Captain E.G. Spencer-Churchill, from whose collection this painting was sold in 1965, inherited Northwick Park, Gloucestershire, and its contents from his maternal grandmother, widow of the 3rd and last Lord Northwick. Spencer-Churchill added over two hundred pictures to Northwick's collection, which already consisted of approximately four hundred Old Masters.