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Plate 28 Nazareth, General View - After David Roberts
  • Plate 28 Nazareth, General View - After David Roberts

    Having left Samaria on the 17th April 1839 Roberts and his party travelled past the ruins of the Church of St John the Baptist at Sebaste, the small village of Jenin (ancient Jezreel) and then Mount Tabor before reaching Nazareth. On the 19th the artist wrote in his journal 'We started at daybreak, and shortly arrived at Jenin. We passed through a beautiful country - Hermon on our right, Mount Tabor standing alone, overlooking the Plain of Esdraelon, said to be one of the richest in the world. A winding path leads up into the mountains, and we descended upon the hamlet of Nazareth, nestled as it were, in the bosom of the hills. We were kindly received by the superior of the Latin convent, which is conspicuously situated.' [1] Then writing the following day Roberts said he 'made two coloured drawings of the chapel, one of the Grotto or Chapel of the Annunciation, and two views of the town. Several objects of interest are pointed out to the pilgrim: - the workshop of Joseph, the stone on which Christ sat with his disciples, and the fountain to which the Virgin went for water.' [2] Roberts and his group left Nazareth on Sunday 21st and made their way to Cana in Galilee.


    'In both Arabic and Hebrew, the names Nazareth means "The Guardian," and while this may have originally been a reference to the strategic location of the village - which overlooks the plain of Esdrelon - today it seems to have more to do with the role that history has reserved for it, of being the guardian of Christian tradition, under the watchful administration of the Franciscan brothers. Although Nazareth has been inhabited from time out of mind, the town in which Jesus was [raised] has only become a full-fledged town in recent yeasr. The old houses with their white-plaster coats reach almost to the peak of the hills where the Church of Jesus the Adolescent now stands, while further down modern buildings stand in neat rows. The fairly heterogeneous makeup of the urban structure corresponds to an equally complex makeup in ethnic and religious terms. While the Muslims live in the old town and the Jews live in the new quarter of Illit, there are a number of other communities, such as Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Maronites, and others belonging to minor creeds. Each of these groups now possesses its own churches and other institutions. When Roberts visited here, and was greeted by the Father Superior of the Latin convent, the population of Nazareth was just three thousand.' [3]


    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 is an original First Edition version published on the 1st June 1844.


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


    Full Plate 28.


    Inscribed l.l. 'Nazareth april 28th 1839' and lower centre 'David Roberts R.A.', 36 x 52cm, mounted.




    [1] David Roberts Journal, 19th April 1839.


    [2] Ibid., 20th April 1839.


    [3] Fabio Bourbon (ed). Yesterday and Today: The Holy Land. Swan Hill Press: London, 1997, p.212. Translated by Antony Shugaar.


    Condition report: the lithograph is generally in very good condition for its age. There is a small amount of scattered foxing marks. These are not very obvious and are mainly in the sky below the lithograph. There are a couple of small crease marks at the top of the lithograph (above the picture and in the white border). Please see photographs.

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