19 June 2014
PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION
ROBERTS, David. Egypt and Nubia...with historical descriptions by William Brockedon. London: F. G. Moon, 1846-1849.
3 volumes, 2o (600 x 342 mm.), 3 lithographed titles with hand-colored vignette views, and 121 PLATES AFTER ROBERTS LITHOGRAPHED BY LOUIS HAGHE FINELY HAND-COLORED
AND MOUNTED ON CARD (very occasional minor spotting affecting vol. I title and a few plates only, map and 2 text leaves dampstained; approx. 6 plates slightly cockled). Contemporary green half morocco gilt, green cloth boards, edges gilt (corners and joints rubbed, abrasion to lower cover of vol. I).
FIRST EDITION OF ROBERT'S MONUMENTAL WORK ON THE MIDDLE EAST, FINEST AND RAREST ISSUE with the plates hand-colored and mounted on card. "One of the most important and elaborate ventures of nineteenth-century publishing and ... the apotheosis of the tinted lithograph" (Abbey, p. 341). After an apprenticeship to the Scottish house-painter, Gavin Buego, Roberts became assistant scene painter at the Pantheon theatre in Edinburgh. He continued scene painting in Glasgow and finally, in 1821, was hired to work with Clarkson Stanfield at the Drury Lane theatre in London. Both artists 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 1838 he made plans for a journey to the Near East, inspired by his passion for artistic adventure. He departed in August 1839 for Alexandria and spent 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 visiting 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. Moon arranged to bring out a volume of Scripture history, paying Roberts 3,000 pounds for the copyright of the sketches and for overseeing Haghe's efforts. Abbey Travels 272; Tooley 402.
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