ROBERTS, David (1796-1864). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia. London: F.G. Moon, 1842-49. -- Egypt & Nubia, from drawings made on the spot. London: F.G. Moon, 1846-49.
6 volumes bound in three, 2o (612 x 430 mm). 6 tinted lithographed titles and letterpress descriptions of plates. Lithographed portrait of Roberts by C. Baugniet, 2 engraved maps and 241 tinted lithographed plates by Louis Haghe after original drawings by David Roberts (some foxing and mostly marginal damsptaining throughout). Contemporary red half morocco gilt, marbled boards, spines gilt and with black morocco lettering pieces, edges gilt, by J. Wright (inner hinges reinforced, a bit rubbed, some dampstaining). Provenance: Sainthill of Sainthill, Devon (armorial bookplates)
FIRST EDITION OF "ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AND ELABORATE VENTURES OF NINETEENTH-CENTURY PUBLISHING AND ... THE APOTHEOSIS OF THE TINTED LITHOGRAPH" (Abbey Travel). Robert's monumental work of the Holy Land and the Near East was issued in 41 parts over 7 years in 3 states: tinted, with tinted proofs, and colored and mounted on card. It is masterfully illustrated by Louis Haghe's lithography, of which Roberts wrote, "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. 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 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, 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 Travel 272, 385; Blackmer 1432; Tooley 401, 402. (3)