James Wyatt arrived in Italy from Staffordshire in 1762, a 16-year-old prodigy. He spent two years in Venice and then went on to Rome. Such was young Wyatt’s evident promise that the esteemed Piranesi gave him a full, ten-volume set of his works. On Wyatt’s return to London in 1768 he was polished, educated and supremely well connected. He also had an enormous commission in his pocket.