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Plate 77 Ruins of Baalbec (Baalbek) - After David Roberts
  • Plate 77 Ruins of Baalbec (Baalbek) - After David Roberts

    David Roberts visited Baalbec (Baalbek) on the 5th May 1839 and he witnessed an incredible site of the ancient ruins of the once great Roman town. The Temple depicted is dedicated to Bacchus and is part of the large Baalbek temple complex that is located in the Al-bibiqā (Bekaa Valley) in Lebanon. The whole complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984 with the Temple of Bacchus being one of the best preserved Roman temple ruins. It was probably commissioned by Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161) with its ornamentation dating to around the second century A.D. 


    'The plain between Libanus and Antilibanus is divided into the territory of Baalbec. But little is known of the ancient history of this once beautiful City. probably owing its wealth, if not its origin, to the traffic which was ccarried on between Tyre and Palmyra...But its Temple, the source of its exisiting fame, was due to Rome. The importance of the City as a military position had attracted the eye of the Imperial Government, and in the reign of Augustus it was made a fortress; 149 years after, Antonius Pius built the present Temple, on the site of a former one' (1).


    The drawings and watercolours from this tour of the Holy Land and Egypt were collated together into folios and released over a seven year period by the publisher F.G. Moon from 20 Threadneedle Street London. This lithograph is from the Royal Subscription Edition (1842-1849) with only 500 copies produced per depiction. Louis Haghe (the Belgian engraver and friend of Roberts) worked on all of the lithographs for this series.


    Medium: Original Royal Subscription Edition, full-plate hand-coloured lithograph on thick woven paper. Stuck on original backing mount from the 1840s as shown in photographs.


    Inscribed on lithograph l.l. 'Ruins of Baalbec May 5th 1839', l.r. 'David Roberts RA' (faint), 34 x 49.7 cm (picture size), mounted.


    Full Plate 77.

    Condition report: very good condition for its age. There is a small mark in the sky on the right hand-side which runs for a few centimetres, see photographs.




    (1) Nachman Ran (ed). The Holy Land. Studio Editions: London, 1989, vol. II, p.59.

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