Sculptor Giovanni Battista Locatelli was born in Verona on 17 November 1734. He worked in Venice and Milan, and his work was known amongst British travellers in Italy. Charles Rossi was born on 8 March 1762 at Nottingham where his father Ananso was a quack doctor. By 1776 the family had moved to London, living at no. 9 Haymarket where Locatelli, who had arrived from Italy in 1778, came to lodge with them. He soon moved on to no. 9 Bentinck Street, Soho. Some time later, when Locatelli was occupying premises at no. 1 Union Street, Southwark, young Rossi became his pupil.
On completing his apprenticeship Rossi remained with his master, until he found more lucrative employment at Coade & Seeley’s artificial stone works at Kings Arms Stairs in Lambeth. During his stay in London, Locatelli worked for William Chambers, Robert Adam, and others. In 1782 George Walpole, 3rd Earl of Orford, commissioned a group of Theseus, Hercules, and Cerberus, but on completion of the work he refused to pay for its cost. Orford appointed a committee of experts to arbitrate between them. The panel was critical of the work and suggested a substantially reduced payment. In 1790 he exhibited for the last time at the Royal Academy and left London for Paris in 1796. He subsequently returned to Milan where he participated in the decoration of the Foro Bonaparte. There he died in May 1805.