In the 1830s tourism in the Holy Land was increasing as the Pasha of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, consolidated his authority and promoted the research into and adoption of European culture. Travel books describing and illustrating the holy sites proliferated, and the scientific investigations of Edward Robinson were published in 1841. David Roberts (1796–1864), a scene-painter for the Pantheon Theatre in Edinburgh, who had established a reputation as a painter of topographical and architectural views, took advantage of the trend to organize a painting expedition to the Holy Land in 1838.
Arriving in Cairo in September 1838, he crossed the desert by way of Suez, Mount Sinai, and Petra, to Gaza and Jerusalem accompanied by tribes of Bedouins, friends and guides. He later visited the Dead Sea, the Lake of Tiberias, Lebanon, and the ruins of Baalbac.
Returning to England in late 1839, he sought a publisher willing to produce a lavish edition of his views. Rejected by the Finden Brothers and by John Murray, he signed a contract with Francis Graham Moon in 1840. He and Moon shrewdly promoted their project by organizing a private viewing of Roberts’ watercolors and drawings for Queen Victoria, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other influential people who immediately subscribed. They mounted public exhibition of some travel sketches in many British cities, and the favorable press notices attracted additional subscriptions, amounting to nearly double what the project required.
His work brought tremendous fame, and historians praise the accuracy of his rendering of architectural details and sculptures.
Original hand-coloured lithograph on fine paper mounted on card as issued from the subscription edition of Roberts’ Egypt and Nubia.
Stock ID: 87511