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Plate 115 The Ascent to the summit of Sinai - After David Roberts
  • Plate 115 The Ascent to the summit of Sinai - After David Roberts

    A depiction of a pilgrim's staircase on Mount Sinai leading to St Catherine's Convent.


    'The mountainous massif that occupies the southern area of the Sinai penisula, generally referred to as Mount Sinai, is in reality made up of four main peaks, all of them standing taller than six thousand five hundred feet above sea level; there are also a number of smaller peaks...The day after he first reached the Convent of St. Catherine, the artist decided to climb the mountain that was considered sacred to the three great monotheistic religions of the world. The climb took only a couple of hours....The so-called 'Stairway of Moses,' [which Roberts has depicted here], covers the most difficult portion of the climb, and consists of more than three hundred steps carved out of granite. Legend narrates that a single monk did the enormous labour involved, in order to keep a vow he had made.' [1]


    Roberts writing in his journal said '20th - To-day we ascended to the summit of Sinai, which took us two hours...The view from the top is the most sublime that can be imagined.' [2]


    The drawings and watercolours from this tour of the Holy Land and Egypt by David Roberts were collated together into lithographic folios and released over a seven year period (1842-1849) by the publisher F.G. Moon from 20 Threadneedle Street London. This lithograph is from the Royal Subscription Edition (1842-1849) which includes original hand-colouring from Louis Haghe's studio. There were only around 500 copies produced per lithograph in this edition.


    Medium: Original Royal Subscription Edition, hand-coloured lithograph on thin India paper.


    Half Plate 115.


    Inscribed l.l. 'Ascent to the summit of Sinai. Feb 20th 1839' and l.r. 'David Roberts R.A.', 31.6 x 21.1 cm, mounted.




    [1] Fabio Bourbon (ed). Yesterday and Today: The Holy Land. Swan Hill Press: London, 1997, p.46. Translated by Antony Shugaar.


    [2] David Roberts' Journal, 20th February 1839.


    Condition report: a few very small marks on the lithograph. There is a small tear in the bottom left hand-corner but in generally very good condition.

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