Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto, was born in Venice and was the son of Bernardo Canal, a scene painter and stage designer. From around 1725 he was mainly active as a view painter, influenced perhaps by Luca Carlevaris. Apart from his work in Venice, he visited England, where he was based for most of the years 1746-1755. Following this period in London he returned to Venice but abandoned his small views of Venice in favour of larger fantasy scenes of other cities. He had a busy studio where assistants often produced versions of his designs. It is not always easy to distinguish studio repetitions and variants from the work of imitators and followers as his work was widely imitated throughout his lifetime.