Roberts' vast panorama portrays a rose-tinted city of Rome, viewed from the elevated terrace of the Sant'Onofrio convent on Janiculum. The picture was based on numerous sketches made in pencil and watercolour during Roberts' visit to Rome in 1853-4. The canvas, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1855, was hailed by Prince Albert as 'the most magnificent work of art of modern times'. Ruskin's criticism, however, prompted Roberts to rework its colouring. In 1857 Roberts presented the painting to the Royal Scottish Academy for inclusion in the future national collection. A year later Edinburgh awarded him the freedom of the city.