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Plate 121 Ayun Musa, The Wells of Moses - After David Roberts
  • Plate 121 Ayun Musa, The Wells of Moses - After David Roberts

    Having passed the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea, David Roberts and his travelling group reached the Wells of Moses on the 12th February 1839. Roberts noted in his journal 'in two hours we reached the Wells of Moses, which are fifteen in number. They are surrounded by a few stunted palm-trees, and the waters are not sweet but bitter. What a picturesque group are our Bedouin Arabs at night, as they gather round the watch-fire! They would suit Wilkie or Allan delightfully; but thirty miles a-day, sitting on a camel, rather unfits me for sketching them' (1).


    The true interest in the Wells arises from them 'having been traversed by the host of Israel. At every halt of the multitude, water must have been of the first importance. Its supply in such an exigency must have been wholly miraculous. The natural supply is utterly impossible. A single caravan, perhaps a single camel, would not exhaust the Fountains, which, under the rod of Moses, supplied from day to day, the thirst of millions' (2). The Biblical story of the Israelites in the desert on their way to the Promised Land is in the book of Exodus.


    The drawings and watercolours from this sketching tour by David Roberts of the Holy Land and Egypt were collated together into folios and released over a seven year period between 1842 and 1849 by the publisher F.G. Moon from 20 Threadneedle Street London. This lithograph is an original First Edition version and was published on the 1st January 1845. Louis Haghe (the Belgian lithographer and friend of Roberts) oversaw and produced all of the lithographs for this series.


    Medium: Original First Edition Lithograph, Full Plate, hand coloured on thick woven paper.


    Half Plate 121.


    Inscribed l.l. 'Wells of Moses. Wilderness of Tyh, Febuary[sic] 12th 1839', l.r. 'David Roberts R.A.', 25.5 x 35 cm (picture size), mounted.


    Condition report: very good. Small mark to the left of the palm trees in the sky along with a couple of pin size black marks in the sky that are only visible when viewed up close.




    (1) David Roberts' Journal.

    (2) Nachman Ran (ed). The Holy Land. Studio Editions: London, 1989, vol v, p.49.

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