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Plate 75 Sidon, looking towards Lebanon - After David Roberts
  • Plate 75 Sidon, looking towards Lebanon - After David Roberts

    Roberts and his group left Tyre at 11 A.M. on the 27th April 1839 and wrote in his journal that afterwards 'we came upon the remains of what must have been a large town, with two beautiful bays. The hill behind is perforated with caves. Further on is a picturesque village, said to occupy the site of the ancient Sarepta. In front of this is a small mosque, said to stand on the site of the house where Elijah sojourned with the widow. Further on we came in sight of Sidon.' [1] The travelling party must have briefly stopped as this is when Roberts painted this composition. 


    'Sidon can be seen on the horizon just a short way from the ruins of Sarepta, but the travellers were caught by nightfall long before they had attained their destination that day. To make things worse, a platoon of guards stopped them outside the city and ordered them to show their health certificates, since they had received word of the epidemic that swept through Palestine. Neither Roberts nor any of his travelling companions possessed any such documents; the irate [Scotsman] made the guards understand however that he possessed a safe-conduct, given him personally by Mohammed Ali Pasha. He told them that if they continued to hinder his passage there would certainly be unpleasant consequences on the following day, as soon as he was able to inform the governor of Sidon. These words had the desired effect, and one of the guards was assigned to accompany them to a place on the beach, just south of the town. By the time they reached the beach, they were weary and worn, but to their surprise a wind storm sprang up, and it was only through the greatest efforts that they finally succeeded in pitching their tents. Although [this lithograph] does not depict the episode in question, of the four plates devoted to Sidon, it certainly describes the city as Roberts saw it, with the mountains of Lebanon in the background and the borad bay looking out to the Mediterranean.' [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 1st May 1841.


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


    Full Plate 75.


    Inscribed l.r. 'Sidon, Looking towards LEBANON', 32.4 x 48.3cm, mounted.




    [1] David Roberts Journal, 27th April 1839.


    [2] Fabio Bourbon (ed). Yesterday and Today: The Holy Land. Swan Hill Press: London, 1997, p.253. Translated by Antony Shugaar.


    Condition report: the lithograph is generally in good condition for its age. There is a small amount of time staining and foxing along with a couple of small crease marks around the white border. There is also a very faint pencil inscription in the lower left hand-corner. Please see photographs.

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