ROBERTS, David (1796-1864). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia ... with historical descriptions by the Revd. George Croly. [And:] Egypt and Nubia ... with historical descriptions by William Brockedon, London: F. G. Moon, 1842-1849. 6 volumes, 2° (612 x 417mm). Portrait frontispiece of David Roberts by C. Baugniet, 6 lithographed titles, 241 tinted lithographed plates by Louis Haghe after Roberts, 2 engraved maps. (Frontispiece in vol. V detached, occasional mainly light marginal spotting, slightly affecting images on plates 49 vol. II, plates 4 and 10 in vol. IV and plate 46 in vol. V, title of vol. IV browned, title of vol. V with light spotting at top corner, a few text leaves lightly browned and offset.) 19th-century red half morocco by Riviere, spines in 6 compartments decorated with gilt ornaments, lettered in 2, gilt edges (spines a little faded, extremities lightly rubbed).
FIRST EDITION of Roberts' monumental work on Palestine and the Near East and 'one of the most important and elaborate ventures of nineteenth-century publishing ... the apotheosis of the tinted lithograph' (Abbey). Roberts, clearly impressed with Louis Haghe's lithographic work, states: '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'. Originally a theatrical scene-painter in Scotland, his works were exhibited at the Royal Academy amongst others, and by 1830 was established as a topographical artist. In August 1839 he departed for Alexandria, spending the rest of the year visiting numerous sites in Egypt. In February the following year, he crossed the desert via Suez, Mount Sinai and Petra before arriving in Gaza and eventually to Jerusalem, returning to England at the end of 1840. The drawings of his tour were submitted to F. G. Moon who arranged to bring out a work illustrative of scripture history, paying Roberts £3,000 for the copyright of the sketches, and for his labour in superintending Louis Haghe's lithography. Abbey Travel 272 and 385; Blackmer 1432; Brunet IV, 1331: "Ce bel ouvrage ..."; Tooley pp. 401-2. (6)