David Roberts Drawings in Bonhams’ Travel and Exploration Auction

David Roberts’ on the spot drawings of the Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia are to be offered by Bonhams at its Travel and Exploration auction in London, on February 6, 2019.


The drawings are presented with historical descriptions by Rev. George Croly and have six lithographed pictorial titles, 121 tinted lithographed plates, and 120 half-page tinted lithographs by Louis Haghe after Roberts. A lithographed portrait of the author by C. Baugniet on India paper, two engraved maps, occasional spotting, publisher’s dark purple half morocco and gilt-blocked arms of Jerusalem on upper covers, also form a part of this auction.


Abbey stated that it is “one of the most important and elaborate ventures of nineteenth-century publishing, and the apotheosis of the tinted lithograph… there is pleasure to be had from many of the individual plates, where Haghe’s skillful and delicate lithography, and his faithful interpretation of Robert’s draughtsmanship and dramatic sense, combine in what are undoubtedly remarkable examples of tinted lithographic work.”


Bonhams stated in their press release and commented on the travels of David Roberts that he “had toured Egypt, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Palestine, Lebanon, and Baalbec during 1838 to 1839 making detailed drawings of the most significant sites, from which he worked up the final pictures for his master work.”


While noting the provenance of these drawings, Bonhams informed that it was acquired by Peter Carthew (1808-1870, of 15A Kensington Palace Gardens), bookplate. Then it went to Alice Grace Elizabeth Carthew (1868-1940), who notes in pencil initialed “A.C.” Bonhams further added: “She was a noted collector of William Blake prints and antiquities, subsequently donating her abundant collections to institutions including the British Museum, The Hunterian, The Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Tate Collection. Alice Carthew’s pencil annotations (dated 1914 and 1926) relate to the topographical accuracy of Roberts’ views, presumably after visits she had made to the actual locations. For example, next to ‘The Ravine,’ she notes ‘steps not steep enough,’ and beside ‘Petra Looking South’ ‘good picture… far too much water.’”


David Roberts drawings are to be presented in 110th lot at the auction and their pre-auction value is estimated to be around £ 25,000 – 35,000.              

Founder: Louise Blouin

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