As a young artist in 1801, Washington Allston studied at London’s Royal Academy under American painter Benjamin West. He then lived for a time in Rome before returning to Boston in 1808. Allston painted Italian Landscape in England during a second stay in Europe (1811-1818) as a remembrance and reverie of his time in Rome. He created an ideal, rather than real, image of the Italian countryside set in an imaginary distant past, with classically garbed peasants contemplating a rustic fountain. The ruins of temples and towers create a romantic, picturesque mood, while hinting at the ultimate futility of human endeavor.