Numbered upper margin 95, black chalk, watercolour, pen and brown ink framing lines, watermark beehive within a shield
430 x 570 mm. (17 x 22 1/2 in.)
Labruzzi was born in Rome the son of Giuseppe Romano, a weaver. Initially intended for the church Labruzzi eventually began a career in art and studied at the Accademia di San Luca where he won a prize. In 1781 he was admitted to the Pontificia Congregazione dei Virtuosi al Pantheon and 15 years later entered the Accademia di San Luca as a landscape artist. Though Labruzzi was capable of fine portraiture his reputation in mainly as a landscape artist and found numerous patrons amongst the visitors to Rome. Among his most enthusiast supporters were the British milords visiting Rome on their Grand Tour. Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758-1838) commissioned Labruzzi in 1789 to make sketches of the ancient monuments along the Via Appia, from Rome to Brindisi and were to be used as illustrations to a volume describing the route. Our drawing is a result of this important commission. However dreadful weather conditions prevented Hoare and Labruzzi completing the trip and the project was never completed though this drawing is amongst the 800 views he did complete, others are mentioned below. In an extract from Hoares diary about this trip he says:
On Saturday, 31st October 1789 I quitted Rome, with the view of tracing the Appian Way, as far, at least, as Beneventum, and if practicable even to its termination at Brundisium. [however] the advanced state of the season, the inclemency of the weather, and the ill health of my companion and artist Carlo Labruzzi, obliged me, very reluctantly, to abandon the further prosecution of the plan.
Bignamini notes Hoare had the idea of following the itinerary described by Horace in Satire 5 of book 1, a record of the journey he made from Rome to Brindisi in 38 BC in the company of his friend and patron Maecenas and Lucius Cocceius Nerva1.
According to the 1996 exhibition the drawings with a Manning provenance are from the same series as the British Museum (for example 1955, 1210.10.34), and the author examines the different series in some detail. A number of these watercolours have appeared on the market in recent years, and a number were sold through the Manning Gallery, including the present watercolour and one that was sold from the Ingram Collection of Sir Richard Colt Hoare and other visitors, which is of a comparable size and is numbered in a similar fashion- in the upper margin in pen and ink2.
2.Christies London, 5 July 1994, lot 74; Christies London, 10 July 2001, lot 90; The Ingram Collection, Sothebys London, 8 December 2005, lot 60.