Santa Costanze was originally a mausoleum and the view that Robert Adam has chosen shows remains of the graveyard structures dating from the Constantine period. There is another view of the building by Adam in the Clerk Collection, Scotland (Clerk 93), which shows the church in considerable detail but from the other side. According to Fleming, his '... charming and painstaking sketches', which included those of Santa Costanza, were probably made in the summer of 1756 (see J. Fleming, Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh & Rome, London, 1962, p.213). There is a superior version of this composition, identical in size, by Charles-Louis Clérisseau in The Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia (2395).
Adam's drawings of the exterior of what is likely to be the adjoining church of Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura (Adam vol.57/63 and 57/64) were probably made at the same time as the current view.