According to an inscription on the back of the picture ‘The Uncultivated Genius’ was painted from life in Naples in 1775 during Allan’s extended stay in Italy (1764-77). Allan’s etching of this same subject bears an alternative title ‘Neapolitan Painter’. The hack artist is shown painting a view of the eruption of Vesuvius. Recent research has indicated that the target of Allan’s satire was probably Pietro Fabris, the popular landscape and figure painter. Fabris was a protégé of Sir William Hamilton, the British Ambassador to Naples, who owned another version of this picture.