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ROBERTS, David (1796-1864, artist) and George CROLY (1780-1860). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia. London: F.G. Moon, 1842-1849.
ROBERTS, David (1796-1864, artist) and George CROLY (1780-1860). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia. London: F.G. Moon, 1842-1849.
ROBERTS, David (1796-1864, artist) and George CROLY (1780-1860). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia. London: F.G. Moon, 1842-1849.
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ROBERTS, David (1796-1864, artist) and George CROLY (1780-1860). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia. London: F.G. Moon, 1842-1849.

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ROBERTS, David (1796-1864, artist) and George CROLY (1780-1860). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia. London: F.G. Moon, 1842-1849.

First edition of the most desirable hand-coloured issue, with a presentation inscription dated 1848 on the first title from John Forster, one of the original subscribers. Masterfully illustrated by Louis Haghe's lithography, Roberts’s monumental work on Palestine and the Near East is celebrated as ‘one of the most important and elaborate ventures of nineteenth-century publishing’ (Abbey p.341). Roberts paid tribute to Haghe's work in glowing terms: 'Haghe has not only surpassed himself, but all that has hitherto been done of a similar nature. He has rendered the views in a style clear, simple and unlaboured, with a masterly vigour and boldness which none but a painter like him could have transferred to stone'.

After an apprenticeship to the Scottish house-painter, Gavin Buego, Roberts became assistant scene painter at the Pantheon theatre in Edinburgh. His paintings were exhibited at the Society of British Artists, Royal Academy and British Institution, and by 1830 Roberts was firmly established as a topographical artist and was able to give up his work in the theatre. In these early years he toured the Continent and Scotland, and in 1832-33 visited Spain, the result of which was his Picturesque Sketches in Spain (1837). In 1838 he made plans for a journey to the Near East and in August 1839 departed for Alexandria, spending the remainder of the year in Cairo and visiting the major tombs and sites of Egypt. The following February he journeyed to the Holy Land, making stops in Suez, Mount Sinai and Petra. He spent time in Gaza before entering Jerusalem and concluded his tour by spending several months becoming familiar with the biblical sites of the Holy Land. Roberts returned to England at the end of 1839 and submitted his drawings to F. G. Moon in 1840. The complete work was published in 3 states: tinted, with tinted proofs, and coloured and mounted on card (as here). The three volumes of the Holy Land are here bound in two, with the plates out of order. Abbey, Travel 272 and 385; Tooley 401.

6 volumes in 5, folio (607 x 445mm). Lithographic frontispiece portrait of Roberts by and after C. Baugniet, 5 hand-coloured lithographic titles, 241 plates finely coloured and finished by hand and mounted on card, all by Louis Haghe after Roberts, 1 engraved map (occasional spotting, a few leaves strengthened in margin or with marginal worming, portrait and map lightly stained at edge, one title slightly cockled, Holy Land without lithographic title to volume III and map probably as originally issued, and description of title vignettes of volumes II and III, 2 plates loosely inserted). The 2 Holy Land volumes in contemporary full dark green morocco by A. Tarrant, elaborately gilt panelled sides, the 3 Egypt volumes in late 19th-century dark green half morocco by Maclehose of Glasgow, all edges gilt (extremities lightly rubbed). Provenance: John Forster, Esq (original subscriber, d.1852; his inscription to Mrs Susan Lumley on title of Holy Land volume I, dated 6th January 1848, Newton le Willows) – Frank R. Burnet (bookplate in each volume) – Christie’s, London, 17 July 1985, lot 60.
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