Patch travelled to Rome in 1747 in the company of Richard Dalton, afterwards librarian to King George III. There he quickly settled into the established colony of British artists and connoisseurs and soon 'attracted the attention of Claude-Joseph Vernet, who was always disposed to look for talent amongst his wife's countrymen' (F.J.B. Watson, 'Thomas Patch: Notes on his life, together with a catalogue of his known works', Walpole Society, XXXVIII, 1939-40, p.16). Patch worked in Vernet's studio from 1750 until 1753, writing home that he believed Vernet to be a superior artist to Claude - an opinion which was said to have greatly shocked Joseph Farington some sixty years later. Expelled from the Papal States in 1755, he settled in Florence where he established a successful painting practice helped by his friendship with Sir Horace Mann, the British Envoy to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, which gave him valuable introductions to the touring British 'milordi'. His celebrated caricatures, not disimilar in style to those of Reynolds, are a fascinating and amusing record of Anglo-Florentine society.
It has been suggested that the building in the distance, centre left, may be the Convento dei Cappuccini, with an impression of Salerno beyond. An alternative suggestion is that the view may show Vico Equense in the Gulf of Naples, with Mount Faito and the Sorrento peninsula beyond.