Filippo Baratti was born in Trieste in 1849, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Little is known of his early years; however in 1868 he was exhibiting at the Esposizione di Belle Arte in Milan. Baratti then moved to Turin, where he exhibited at the Società Promatirice di Belle Arte 1869-1872.
Baratti was very much an Orientalist painter, although also painting occasional landscapes, society genre subjects and of course city views. The rise in interest throughout Europe for the Romantic and exotic subjects of North Africa and the Ottoman Empire was inspired by the likes of Delacroix and subsequently Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). Baratti’s Orientalist subjects set amidst the Moorish architecture of Granada’s Alhambra Palace, or imaginary palaces of the Ottoman Empire, follow the style of Gerome, whose work Baratti is likely to have seen in Paris.
Paris was the city to which Baratti would return, working there in the 1870’s, in the 1880’s following his sojourn in London and was working there at the turn of the century, evidenced by his “Place de la Concorde” of 1904.
Baratti, as has been seen, was not solely an Orientalist and his finest works emanated from the period in London during the mid-1880’s. Here he produced a number of views of the city, amongst which were “St. Paul’s Cathedral from Aldgate”, 1885, “Waterloo Place”, 1886, “Whitehall”, 1885 and the present painting, all iconic views of London. These works exemplify Baratti’s highly finished technique and his consummate success as a painter of topographical yet narrative subjects.