Landscape painter and draughtsman Francesco Zuccarelli was born in 1702 at Pitigliano, Grosseto. He studied in Rome and by 1728 he was active in Florence. From approximately 1732 Zuccarelli was settled in Venice and celebrated for his output of pastoral scenes. He was patronised by Joseph Smith, the British Consul in the city, for whom he collaborated with architect Antonio Visentini on a series of landscapes with English Palladian buildings (the majority are in the Royal Collection).
In 1752 Zuccarelli left Venice for London. In the previous year he had met British landscape painter Richard Wilson. Along with Smith, Wilson may have encouraged his travelling to Britain where his landscapes were already popular. Around 1760 he depicted a scene from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It was one of the first paintings to portray theatrical characters in a landscape. He was made a founder member of the Royal Academy of Arts based in Burlington House on Piccadilly in 1768. George III commissioned and acquired a number of paintings from him. In 1773 Zuccarelli returned to Florence where he died in December 1788.