<em xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">New Horse Guards from St James’s Park</em> by Giovanni Antonio Canaletto

New Horse Guards from St James’s Park by Giovanni Antonio Canaletto

Credit: CEN

The oldest view of what would become the background for volleyball games played during this past summer's Olympic Games is up for auction. Giovanni Antonio Canal painted the new Horse Guards Parade as it was under construction in 1753, after the Old Horse Guards was demolished between 1749 and 1750. William Kent, chief architect to George II, designed the new grounds, and in the painting one can see scaffolding around the clock tower as the building went up. Also seen in the painting are other splendors of British architecture: the Admiralty building, the Treasury, and some of Christopher Wren's houses at Downing Street. But Horse Guards Parade, where monarchs march on their birthdays, is now also known for hosting Olympic beach volleyball—thanks to architecture firm Populous, who developed a strategy of using London landmarks to backdrop the London Olympics. New Horse Guards from St James's Park is estimated to sell for €2 to €3 million ($2.6 to $3.9 million) at the Dorotheum in Vienna on Oct. 17. • dorotheum.com