Catalog Archive
Auction 141, Lot 587

"El Deir, Petra", Roberts, David

Subject: Jordan, Middle East

Period: 1842 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

20 x 13.8 inches
50.8 x 35.1 cm

David Roberts, R.A. (1796-1864) was one of the first Europeans to depict the Middle East. Considered a dangerous and barbaric land, it was not until the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt after 1798 that any serious study had been done into the Pharoic culture. Sir Richard Burton's infamous penetration of Mecca did not occur until 1858, twenty years after Roberts painted the wonders of the Moslem world and the Holy Land. The sketchbooks from his journeys were one of the most popular publications of its time, allowing Victorian Europeans a peek into the exotic world from the comfort of their parlors.

This attractive lithograph depicts the El Deir, or "the monastery", in the ancient city of Petra, located in present day Jordan. Established in the 6th century BC, Petra was literally carved out of the slope of Mount Hor. In this scene, a group of soldiers are gathered outside the monastery with an impressive view of the Arabah valley below. Produced in the tinted lithograph process and finished by hand with watercolor. First edition, published by F.G. Moon in London, with the full sheet measuring 23.7 x 16.3".


Condition: A

Full original color, printed on heavy paper with light toning along sheet edges and one tiny pinhole in the lower right corner only visible when held to light.

Estimate: $800 - $1,000

Sold for: $1,000

Closed on 9/5/2012