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Plate 172 Fragments of the Great Colossi at the Memnonium - After David Roberts
  • Plate 172 Fragments of the Great Colossi at the Memnonium - After David Roberts

    David Roberts reached the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes on the 27th November 1838 and stayed there until the 5th December that year. He produced many drawings of the impressive ruins and Temples on display as well as venturing to the Valley of Kings on the 3rd December. The drawing used for our lithograph was produced on the 5th December with Roberts writing in his journal 'Have been very industrious today, thanks to a thunderstorm, accompanied with rain, a very rare event in this part of the world. I made two large coloured sketches of Memnonium, and two of the Medinet Abou. Took leave of Thebes, and, for the first time on our going down the river, had our sails up.' (1)


    Today, the ruins of Thebes lie in the Egyptian city of Luxor and include the impressive Temples of Karnak and Luxor. This lithograph shows the Colossus of Ramses II in the Ramesseum which was a key tourist attraction even in Roberts' time. The huge statue was 'made by order of the pharaoh in his own likeness and placed in front of the second pylon of the temple.' (2) The statue orginally would have been 60 feet tall and was made from a single block of red Aswan granite that weighed over 1100 tons. Ramses II was depicted seated on a throne with the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt on his head.


    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 5th March 1847. 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 172.


    Inscribed l.l. 'L Haghe lith, David Roberts R.A.', l.r. 'Fragments of the Great Colossi at the Memnonium, Thebes', 34.6 x 50.7 cm (picture size), framed.




    (1) David Roberts' journal from the Holy Land and Egypt.

    (2) Fabio Bourbon (ed). Yesterday and Today: Egypt. Swan Hill Press: London, 1996, p.178. Translated by A.B.A., Milano. 


    Condition report: some time staining and small foxing marks.

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