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Plate 38 Tiberias looking towards Hermon - After David Roberts
  • Plate 38 Tiberias looking towards Hermon - After David Roberts

    David Roberts arrived at the ancient town of Tiberias on the 21st April 1839 and this composition was drawn the following day. Writing in his journal on the 22nd April, the artist said 'To-day I made several sketches of the town, or rather of its remains - for every part has been more or less destroyed by earthquakes. The city wall, which is Saracenic, has been built of large square stones, now thrown down and rent from top to bottom. Towards midday we left for Mount Carmel, and at night rested by the only fountain in Cana.' [1] 


    'The Lake of Tiberias, also known as the Lake of Gennesareth or the Lake of Kinneret, is a small inland sea that formed toward the end of the Tertiary Period following the same tectonic depression that affected the Jordan Valley and led to the creation of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea formed as a result of the interruption of the flow of the Jordan toawrd the Gulf of Aqaba. Over the millennia, the total aridity and high average temperature of the reguon, in combination with the shallowness and the greater surface area of the Dead Sea in comparison with the sea of Tiberias, created a situation in which the evaporation was equal to and in some cases superior to the flow of the Jordan, so that the waters of the Dead Sea are constantly increasing in salinity and at the same time declining in volume. Regularly fed by the waters of the Jordan, which freshen the water somewhat, the Lake of Tiberias attains a depth of one hundred and sixty feet and constitutes a valuable reserve for the entire region. The remarkable location makes it subject to frequent tempests, an observation that is also made in the Gosepls, while in the summer the surface is incessantly ruffled by a pleasant breeze. Because the water so abounds in fish, thousands of aquatic birds line the shores and the stands of reeds of this tiny "sea" just fourteen miles long, with water so transparent that Roberts was dumbfounded. The artist spent much of the day at Tiberias on the 22nd April, taking the time to tour the city and the surrounding countryside, making a few thoroughgoing sketchces as he went. In this plate, Mount Hermon appears on the horizon in all its majesty, while at the foot of the hill lie the remains of the ancient town.' [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 is an original First Edition version published on the 


    Medium: Original First Edition, Full-Plate hand-coloured lithograph on thick woven paper.


    Full Plate 38.


    Inscribed on lithograph l.l. 'City of Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, April 22nd 1839' and l.r. 'David Roberts R.A.', 32 x 48 cm (picture size), framed.




    [1] David Roberts Journal, 22nd April 1839.


    [2] Fabio Bourbon (ed). Yesterday and Today: The Holy Land. Swan Hill Press: London, 1997, p.228. Translated by Antony Shugaar.


    Provenance: Storey's Ltd, Fine Rare Antique Prints & Maps dealer, 3 Cecil Court London.


    Condition report: the lithograph is in very good condition for its age. There is small amount time staining and scattered foxing, please see photographs. Frame shows some wear.

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