Almost all known drawings by Place were sold at Sotheby's on 10 June 1931 by the family of his descendant, Patrick Allan Fraser (1812-1890) of Hospitalfield, Arbroath. Lot 137 contained 'drawings of different places on the Continent', among which were views in Flanders, Germany, Genoa and Naples. If these were by Place, they may have been drawn on the same tour as this cavernous study of ruined and overgrown arches. Its location is unknown but it may well be a site then known as the stables of the Villa Maecenas at Tivoli. Place may have travelled to Italy with the landscape painter Thomas Manby , who travelled to Italy several times in the 1670s and 80s, for Place owned Manby's only surviving drawings, all of which were made in Italy and which include views drawn at Tivoli.
The present sheet, with its rich use of tonal washes was probably made towards the end of Place’s career, when his work began to reflect the impact of Dutch-Italianate artists like Bartholomeus Breenbergh and Thomas Wyck instead of the more linear style of his earlier drawings.