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Plate 94 Lower Portion of El Khasne, Petra - After David Roberts
  • Plate 94 Lower Portion of El Khasne, Petra - After David Roberts

    Roberts eagerly reached Petra on the 6th March 1839 and spent much of the next day exploring and sketching the area. In his diary on the 7th March the artist wrote 'I am more and more astonished and bewildered with this extraordinary city, which must be five or six miles each way in extent; and every ravine has been inhabited, even to the tops of the mountains. The valley has been filled with temples, public buildings, triumphal arches, and bridges, all of which have been laid prostrate, with the exception of one arch, and one temple, and of this temple the portico has fallen. The style of the architecture varies from all I have ever seen, and in many of its parts is a curious combination of the Egyptian with the Roman and Greek orders. The stream still flows through it as heretofore; the shrubs and wild-flowers flourish luxuriantly; every crevice of the rock is filled with them, and the air is perfumed with the most delicate fragrance.' [1]


    The Khasne was long thought to have been a temple but it is likely that it was a monumental tomb. 'The facade of Khasne, one hundred thirty-one feet high and eighty-two feet long, is divided into two stories, the lower story consisting of a portico with pediment, with six Corinthian columns, over forty feet tall each. Between the two outer pairs of columns are two colossal equestrian groups executed in high relief. The central pavilion was a round tholos, practically a small-scale temple, with a conical roof surmounted by an urn. It is worth noting that this detail gave the building its name: In Arabic, El Khasne means "treasury".' [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. 


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


    Full Plate 94.


    Inscribed l.r. 'Louis Haghe Lith., Temple called El Khasne Petra March 7th 1839' and lower centre 'David Roberts R.A.', 46.8 x 31.3 cm (lithograph size), framed.


    Provenance: Mathaf Gallery (stock number MD117).


    Condition Report: the lithograph is in excellent condition. There is a small foxing mark on the mount in the upper right hand corner.




    [1] David Roberts' Egyptian and Holy Land Journal, 7th March 1839.


    [2] Fabio Bourbon (ed). Yesterday and Today: The Holy Land. Swan Hill Press: London, 1997, p.78. Translated by Antony Shugaar.

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