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Plate 73 General View of Sidon - After David Roberts
  • Plate 73 General View of Sidon - After David Roberts

    Sidon was a city that was familiar to anyone who knew their ancient history and was continually mentioned in the Old Testament. The city built itself on trade between the Near East and the European countries in the Mediterranean basin. It has seen various rulers over the centuries and played an important role in the Crusades. It was controlled at various points by the armies of Christendom and also by Saladin and the Muslims. Unfortunately, as the port of Beirut grew in significance further up the coast the fate of Sidon was sealed. It never regained the opulence of its past but had a 'sober dignity that Roberts had an opportunity to appreciate so thoroughly'. (1)


    Roberts wrote in his journal about the city on the 28th April: 'I was determined to sketch, however, and I got one or two views on an ancient fort, connected by a bridge of several arches. The houses of Sidon seem large, but I could discover few antiquities, except some granite columns lying in the road, and some tesselated pavement. The people seem well dressed, and the town thriving.' (2)


    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 18th September 1843. 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 73.


    Inscribed l.l. 'Saida ancient Sidon april 28th 1839', l.r. 'David Roberts R.A.', 35.5 x 50.5 cm (picture size), framed.


    Condition report: excellent condition. There are the odd time marks on the lithograph and the lower left hand corner is slightly creased which is obvious in the close up photographs. This isn't obvious from a distance. The frame is in great condition except for a small piece missing on the top right (see photo).




    (1) Fabio Bourbon (ed). Yesterday and Today: The Holy Land. Swan Hill Press: London, 1997, p.258. Translated by Antony Shugaar.

    (2) David Roberts' Journal.

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