Wilson's depiction of Lake Nemi with two friars is taken from the southern shores, looking north beyond Gensano, on the left, with the town of Nemi seen on the extreme right and the distant peak of Monte Cavo beyond. The second picture Lake Nemi from a Convent, portrays the garden of the Capuchin convent looking south west over Lake Nemi towards the Palazzo Cesarini, with the town of Gensano in the middle distance.
Wilson's original idea for both compositions may have originated from sketches made during his stay in Rome in 1754. The first view appears to be related to a chalk drawing in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Dyce 643), dated 1753-4. Several versions of this oil are recorded, such as that in the Brinsley Ford Collection, signed and dated 1768 (see W.G. Constable, Richard Wilson, London, 1953, pl. 94b). The latter picture is related to a drawing, signed and dated 1754, formerly in the collection of Lord Dartmouth, and now in the Museum of Art, Rhode Island (op. cit., pl. 95b). A related oil, dating from the 1760s, is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (05.32.3). The present pictures appear to be datable to the 1760s and are possibly the pair of paintings entitled The Lake Nemi with 'Its companion' exhibited by Wilson at the Society of Artists in 1761.