Although the artist was of Milanese origin, he is thought to have trained under Antonio Joli in Naples and to have come into contact with Joseph Wright of Derby, who visited Naples in 1774.
The present view was evidently one of Antoniani's most popular compositions, to judge by the number of versions known. Among the dated examples are the picture, signed and dated 1776, sold in these Rooms, 12 December 1980, lot 99 and another, dated 1771 and probably from the collection of Sir William Hamilton at Naples, sold in these Rooms, 2 May 1980, lot 93. All of the autograph versions differ slightly in format, perspective and the number and placement of boats, figures and other minor details. An unsigned version, of almost identical size and with similar deployment of figures and boats, was sold in these Rooms, 9 May 1990, lot 85, one of a pair (220,000 for the pair).