Ruined Mosques; David Roberts


David Roberts. “Ruined Mosques in the Desert, West of the Citadel.” From Views in the Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia. London: E. G. Moon, 1842-1849. Folio.  Title is within the image. Tinted lithograph by H. Hague. Finished by hand.

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David Roberts (1796-1864) was born near Edinburgh, Scotland. As a child his artistic talent was encouraged by his family, through an apprenticeship to a house painter. He later became a scenery painter to a traveling circus; all the while, improving as an illustrator. During his extensive travels abroad he sketched local scenery and costume. His drawings of Spain were published as colorful lithographs in the series Picturesque Sketches in Spain during the years 1822 and 1823. His greatest work however, issued in six volumes and containing nearly 250 chromolithographs is of views of the Middle East. In the autumn of 1838 Roberts hired a boat on the Nile, traveling fast upstream as far as possible, then returning at a leisurely pace, making detailed additions to preliminary sketches. He was most captivated by the temples at Edfu and Philae, drawing them from many different perspectives. His works have been praised and admired for their accuracy in depicting the architecture, costume, culture and landscapes of the Middle East.