The Colosseum was one of the main Roman sights visited by Grand Tour travellers and the subject of at least eight watercolours by Towne. As Richard Stephens notes, the shades of red in this interior view of a vaulted corridor are typical of Towne’s drawings made during his first few months in Rome. Towne, who had arrived in October 1780, stayed until March 1781, when he travelled to Naples with fellow artist Thomas Jones (1742-1803). According to an annotation on the verso of the mount, Towne worked on this drawing on 22 December 1780 ‘from 11 till 1 O clock’. It has been suggested that he was accompanied by John 'Warwick' Smith (1749-1831), whose views of the Colosseum dated 1780-1781 share Towne’s viewpoints and general approach to the subject.