Being a foreigner in this big city in perpetual transformation, he did not try to express the atmosphere of remote districts and focused on a limited number of topics including the banks of the Thames and the great plaza of St. James's Park.
The view of the Horse Guards across St. James's is one of his masterpieces by its monumental size, 117 x 236 cm. This oil on canvas was sold for £ 10M including premium by Christie's on April 15, 1992. It is currently on long-term loan to the Tate Gallery by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.
Canaletto showed the old red brick building of the Horse Guards. Two sketches that have been preserved assess that the artist had been appealed by the announcement of the imminent destruction of the building in 1749.
On January 29 in New York, Sotheby's sells another view on the same theme, less panoramic and better focused on the Old Horse Guards and on the spring green of the Park. This oil on canvas 47 x 77 cm is estimated $ 4M, lot 98.
Really passionate about this fate of a monument, Canaletto observed again this scenery three years later with the scaffolding of the new building. This oil on panel 59 x 110 cm remained unsold in 2012 at Dorotheum despite a conservative lower estimate of € 2M.