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Plate 220 Mosque Of The Sultan Hassan, Cairo - After David Roberts
  • Plate 220 Mosque Of The Sultan Hassan, Cairo - After David Roberts

    Roberts drew this composition on the 12th January 1839 during his stay in Cairo. 'Although Sultan Hassan never completed his mosque, the harmony of the building and the elegant understatement of the decorations make it a masterpeice that has no equal in Egypt for grandeur and majesty. The building has an irregular pentagonal plan in which the cross-shaped structure of the madrasa is inserted. Inside is a square central courtyard adorned with the fountain shown here, and the four iwans (prayer rooms) with their high barrel vaults are distributed around this well of light. The play of light and shade, the purity of the lines and the huge volumes are hgihly conducive to prayer.' [1]


    Interestingly, whilst drawing in the inner courtyard Roberts met a young man called Hanafee Ismail Effendi and to his 'great surprise, not only did he speak excellent English, but he had also been baptised in Glasgow during one of his journeys. Brought up and educated in the European style, he was a member of the pasha's entourage. The two immediately struck up a friendship that was to have important future developments: Ismail accompanied Roberts on his journey to the Holy Land and kept in touch with him by letter for many years afterwards.' [2]


    The drawings and watercolours from this tour by David Roberts 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 was published on December 1st 1848.


    Medium: Original First Edition Lithograph, with later hand-colouring on thick woven paper.


    Full Plate 220.


    Inscribed l.r. 'David Roberts R.A. L Haghe Lith' and l.l. 'Mosque of Sultan Hassan', 33.2 x 50cm (lithograph size), mounted.




    [1] Fabio Bourbon (ed). Yesterday and Today: Egypt. Swan Hill Press: London, 1996, p.235. Translated by A.B.A. Milano.


    [2] Ibid., p.235.


    Condition report: very good for its age. The mount has a small bump in the corner (see photos).

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