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    David Roberts. The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia. From Drawings Made on the Spot by David Roberts, R. A. With Historical Descriptions by the Revd. George Croly, L. L. D. Lithographed by Louis Haghe. London: F. G. Moon, 1842-1843. First edition, early issue. Three volumes. Large folio (25.625 x 16.75 inches; 600 x 427 mm.). Unpaginated, with text principally in the first volume comprising: dedication (one leaf); list of subscribers (two leaves); "Notice of Mr. Roberts's Journey in the East" (one leaf); "The Armorial Ensigns of Jerusalem" (one leaf); "Israel" (pages [1]-30). Each plate accompanied by a leaf of descriptive text. Tinted lithograph portrait of Roberts by C. Baugniet, on India paper mounted; three tinted lithographed vignette title-pages; 120 tinted lithographed plates, each with original guard sheets. In handsome contemporary green morocco binding by J. Adlard, with binder's stamp on verso of front free endpaper of first volume. Boards with elaborate decorative gilt border; spines decoratively paneled and lettered in gilt with five raised bands; gilt filled decorations; gilt inside dentelles. All edges trimmed and gilt. Marbled endpapers.

    A few tiny nicks to binding edges, boards. Some light, mostly marginal foxing or spotting, most pronounced at plates in second volume; occasional areas of soiling or smudging; small, faint dampstain at lower verso corner of one plate in first volume. In this copy, the title-page to the third volume is lacking (and a duplicate of the first volume title-page supplied), as is the map ("Map to Illustrate the Route of David Roberts Esq: RA in the Holy Land, Petrea & Syria") at the end of the third volume, both of which were issued in 1849, the year of completion of the entire work. Plates are in a different order than the copy described in Abbey: Volume I contains plates 1-26 and 89-96; Volume II contains plates 97-106, 84-87, 46-47, 50-51, 48-49, and 52-75; and Volume III contains plates 76-83, 27-44, and 107-124. Overall, a beautiful, bright, about fine set of this monumental work.

    "There is a deep and absorbing interest in the subject, for in no other publication have the sites and buildings famous in sacred history and Eastern legend been so vividly represented. It is difficult to speak in sufficiently high terms of the beauty and interest of the varied subjects in this great work. It represents the results of Roberts's travels in the East during the years 1838 and 1839. The extraordinary merit and interest of the drawings which he exhibited on his return created a great sensation. The fidelity of his accurate pencil, his skilful adherence to truth of costume and surroundings, his attention to characteristic in architecture and landscape, won immediate recognition and praise. Commissions from royal and other patrons of art crowded upon him for pictures of his Eastern subjects, and a publisher, F. G. Moon, was soon found to undertake their reproduction for wider circulation. The result was the present work with about two hundred and fifty plates, accompanied by an admirable descriptive text by the Rev. Dr. Croly and W. Brockedon. The book was published in parts from 1842 to 1849, and the original cost for subscribers for a coloured copy was close on £150. For the colored edition the plates were all executed in two tints by Louis Haghe, and were exquisitely coloured by hand in imitation of the original drawings. It should be said that Roberts himself did no drawing on the stone for his book. The lithographs were done entirely from Roberts's drawings by Harding and Haghe, the latter of whom devoted about eight years to the series" (Martin Hardie, pp. 251-252).

    "Roberts's Holy Land was one of the most important and elaborate ventures of nineteenth-century publishing, and it was the apotheosis of the tinted lithography... Whatever may be thought of the work as a whole... there is pleasure to be had from many of the individual plates, where Haghe's skillful and delicate lithography, and his faithful interpretation of Roberts's draughtmanship and dramatic sense, coming in what are undoubtedly remarkable examples of tinted lithographic work... It had chanced, in the spring of the year [1804], that David Roberts had brought home and exhibited his sketches in Egypt and the Holy Land. they were the first studies ever made conscientiously by an English painted, not to exhibit his own skill, or to make capital out of his sketches, but to give true portraiture of scenes of historical and religious interest. They were faithful and laborious beyond any outlines from nature I had ever seen...." (Abbey, Travel II, p. 341).

    Abbey, Travel II, 385; Ibrahim-Hilmy II, pp. 176-177; Lipperheide 1540; Martin Hardie, pp. 237-238, 250-252; Tooley 401.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2019
    6th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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