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Plate 137 The Colossi of Memnon, Thebes - After David Roberts
  • Plate 137 The Colossi of Memnon, Thebes - After David Roberts

    The two huge huge statues were called the Colossi of Memnon by Greek travelers because of a mistaken interpretation of the Egyptian name. (1) They became popular monuments in Roman times and attracted many travellers who marvelled in their size. The statues reach up to a height of almost 65 feet with the bas-reliefs still visible. They depict the 'two Nile divinities entwining a lotus and a papyrus, the heraldic plants of Upper and Lower Egypt, symbolising the union of the two kingdoms.' (2) The statues portray Amenhotep III (who was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty) and on the left-hand side of the legs on each colossus is his mother Mutemunia, and to the right his wife Teie.


    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 August 1846. 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.


    Full Plate 137.


    Inscribed l.l. 'Thebes Decr 4th 1838', l.r. 'David Roberts R.A.', 31.5 x 48 cm (picture size), framed.


    Condition report: excellent condition. There are a few foxing marks including by the inscription 'Thebes' at the bottom of the lithograph and a couple of small marks in the sky.




    (1) Fabio Bourbon (ed). Yesterday and Today: Egypt. Swan Hill Press: London, 1996, p.173. Translated by A.B.A., Milano. Note, Homer's hero was called Memnon who was slain by Achilles beneath the walls of Troy.

    (2) Ibid.

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