AN ARCHITECTURAL CAPRICCIO
Pen & ink with wash on laid paper
19.3 x 25.4cm
With Peter Claas, London (as by Gaspar van Wittel);
From whom purchased by the previous owner, June 1963 [for 150 Guineas];
Private Collection, U.K.
The present work was once examined by Adrian Ward-Jackson, then (c.1971) a senior director of Colnaghi, who believed it to be by Gaspar van Wittel, called Vanvitelli. It is however not by Vanvitelli but rather Francesco Zucchi, a Venetian contemporary of Vanvitelli's, an artist whose hand as a draughtsman is indebted to that of his close-contemporary Canaletto.
Zucchi came from an artistic family, with both his brothers (Carlo and Andrea) artists and his son, Antonio Pietro Zucchi, also a well-known painter. Francesco was primarily an engraver, although drawings such as the present work attest to his skill as a draughtsman. He was invited to Dresden to engrave some plates from the pictures in the city's Gallery but his work was interrupted by the Seven Years' War. According to Henry Fuseli, Zucchi never actually went to Dresden but sent his works from Venice instead. His artistic production includes reproductions of paintings, city views of Venice, Brescia, Brixen (Bressanone) and many illustrations for books, including the 1742 Italian translation of Milton's Paradise Lost.