The Molo: Looking West, 1730
Oil on canvas, 21.65 x 40.16 inches [55 x 102 cm]
The Molo: Looking West and its companion painting (Riva degli Schiavoni: Looking East, in the same collection) were painted by Canaletto for Samuel Hill, who came from Staffordshire. They are of considerable interest as accomplished view paintings of the early 1730s, but are also significant because in the correspondence related to their commission the agent Joseph Smith for the first time mentions Canaletto's name in a letter dated 17 July 1730 to Hill. In the letter Smith gives the impression that Canaletto was very popular and somewhat egotistical; his popularity should not be doubted, but the question of his character needs to be approached with caution.