Monday, 19 October 2015

David Roberts - part 2

David Roberts Esq. in the Dress He Wore in Palestine, by Robert Scott Lauder 1840
David Roberts RA (1796 – 1864) was a Scottish painter. He is especially known for a prolific series of detailed lithographic prints of Egypt and the Near East that he produced as watercolour sketches he made during long tours of the region between 1838 and 1840. These, along with his large format oil paintings of similar subjects, made him a prominent Orientalist artist. He became a Royal Academician in 1841.

For more information on Roberts and for earlier works, see part 1 also.

This is part 2 of an 8 - part series on David Roberts:


1837 Picturesque Sketches in Spain

In 1832 David Roberts travelled to Spain and Tangiers. He returned at the end of 1833 with a supply of sketches that he elaborated into paintings that became very popular. He executed a series of Spanish illustrations for the “Landscape Annual” of 1836. Then in 1837 a selection of his “Picturesque Sketches of Spain” was reproduced by lithography by Hodgson & Graves of Pall Mall, London.


1 Title page. Entrance to the Chapel of Ferdinand and Isabella, Granada

2 The High Altar of Seville Cathedral during the celebration of Corpus Christi

3 Part of the High Altar during Mass and the great Candle in the Chancel of Seville Cathedral

4 Interior of the Church of San Miguel, Xeres

5 North Aisle of Seville Cathedral, with the Procession of the Host

6 Church of San Jago, Xeres

7 Part of the Cathedral, Burgos

8 Correo de los Morros or Ancient Guardhouse, Granada

9 Gate of the Vivarrambla, Granada

10 Tower of Comares, Fortress of the Alhambra

The original oil painting:


1838 The Tower of Comaris, Alhambra, Granada oil on panel 50.8 x 40.6 cm Private Collection

11 Old Buildings on the River Darro, Granada

12 Ancient Roman Gateway, Cordova

13 Chapel in the Great Mosque, Cordova

14 The Tower of the Gralda, Seviile

15 Chapel of the Nunnery of the Virgin at Carmona during the Service of the Vigils by the Sisterhood

16 Chapel of Ferdinand and Isabella with the Tombs of Philip II and his Queen and of Ferdinand and Isabella

17 Great Square and Market Place, Carmona

18 Entrance to Madrid, The Gate of Alcalá

19 Citadel and Port of Malaga

19b Citadel and Port of Malaga hand-coloured

20 Bridge of Toledo on the River Manzanares, Madrid

21 Porch of an Ancient Mosque, Cordova

22 Mill and Bridge on the Guadalquiver, Cordova

23 Distant View of the Palace of the Escurial and Mountains of the Guadarama

24 Great Mosque and Palace of the Arhbishop, Codova

25 The Rock of Gibraltar, facing the Neutral Ground

26 The Bull Ring, Seville

*          *          *


1838 Interior of Cologne Cathedral, with a Funeral oil on canvas 91.5 x 72 cm Wolverhampton Art Gallery, UK


1838 – 52 Egypt and the Holy Land

Roberts travelled to Egypt at the end of August 1838. His intent was to produce sketches he could later use as the basis for both paintings and for lithographs. Egypt was much in vogue at the time, and travellers, collectors, and lovers of antiquities were ken to buy works inspired by the east or depicting the great monuments of ancient Egypt.



1838 Obelisk at Luxor pencil and watercolour 48 x 32.5 cm Private Collection

1838 Oriental Scene watercolour over traces of graphite on cardboard 31 x 23 cm  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1838 The Gate of Metwaley, Cairo pencil and watercolour on paper 34.3 x 24.8 cm Denver Art Museum, Colorado

1838 The Great Hall at Karnak pencil and watercolour on paper 47 x 32.4 cm Denver Art Museum, Colorado

1838 The Great Temple of Amon Karnak, The Hypostyle Hall watercolour 48.9 x 33 cm Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, CT

1838 The Temple of Horus at Edfu watercolor, pen and black ink, and pencil, heightened with white, on light brown wove paper 32.3 x 48.2 cm The Morgan Library and Museum, New York

1838 View of Karnak, Egypt watercolour, point of brush, and tempera, over pencil, on light brown wove paper 32.5 x 48.5 cm The Morgan Library and Museum, New York

1838-39 Egyptian Temple sepia wash on paper 11.1 x 17.5 cm Scottish National Galleries, UK

1838-39 The Gateway, Baalbec pencil and watercolour on paper 37.2 x 27.8 cm National Galleries of Scotland, UK

1839 Cairo, Looking West watercolour and gouache over graphite on paper 34.1 x 54 cm The Morgan Library and Museum, New York

1839 Colosseum Ruins watercolour with white highlights 22 x 32.5 cm

1839 Grand Cairo watercolour and gouache over pencil Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1839 Petra: El Khazne (Treasury) watercolour

1839 St Catherine's Convent, Mount Sinai, Holy Land watercolour and gouache over pencil on paper 24.5 x 34.5 cm © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, UK

1839 The Great Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza watercolour

1839 The Shrine of the Holy Nativity, Bethlehem pencil and watercolour on paper 20.5 x 31.5 cm Denver Art Museum, Colorado

1839 Valetta, Malta pencil, watercolour and bodycolour on four joined sheets of paper 31.8 x 87.6 cm National Galleries of Scotland, UK



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