A preparatory drawing for one of the etchings of the series Le Fabriche e Vedute di Venetia, signed and dated by the artist 27 May 1703, and published by G.B. Finazzi in Venice in the same year (fig. 1). This publication, which was dedicated to the Doge Luigi Mocenigo, contains 101 views of the most prominent buildings and sites in Venice, and is Carlevarijs' most important early achievement as a vedutista, building the foundation of 18th Century Venetian view painting. The publication proved to be a great success, and several reprints followed, the third edition including two more etchings.
Eighty-six further preparatory drawings are known, all of which are preserved in the British Museum. These drawings, which were bound in a leather album, came from the collection of John Strange who was British Resident of Venice from 1773-88. Following his death in 1799, the collection was sold on 15-16, 19-24, and 28-29 March 1800 at Christie's in London.
In 1866 the British Museum acquired the group of drawings attributed to Canaletto, from the collection of Lord de Manley. According to A. Rizzi (op.cit., p. 99) several of the preparatory drawings are missing from that group, among them the drawing for the etching of Palazzo Grimani (no. 76), which is most probably identical with the present sheet.
This shows the Palazzo Grimani on the Grand Canal, built by Sebastiano Serlio in the 16th Century. The print closely follows the drawing, the only remarkable difference being the pentimento with the moulding above the frieze of the Palazzo, which in the drawing is extended to the right. As with the other views in the series, the artist is concerned to depict the subject with topographical precision, thus revealing the influence of earlier view painters, such as Berckheyde, van der Heyden, and Vanvitelli.