Landscape painter Marco Ricci was born on 5 June 1676 at Belluno, in the Republic of Venice, the son of a landscape painter. He is said to have fled to Dalmatia, after having killed a gondolier in a brawl. He arrived in England in 1708 in company of fellow Venetian painter Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini having been invited by the opera-loving British ambassador at Venice, Charles Montagu, 4th Duke of Manchester.
After their arrival, the pair worked on the decoration of the hall and staircase at Manchester House, Arlington Street, and on scenery for two Queen’s Theatre (Haymarket) opera productions of 1709. Pellegrini and Ricci’s arrival ushered in a flowering of Venetian decorative painting which lasted until the early 1730s, when the taste for ‘barochetto’ changed for Palladianism. Ricci left England in 1716. He died in January 1730. Ricci’s extraordinary landscapes anticipate the work of Piranesi.