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Plate 95 The Arch Across the Ravine, Petra - After David Roberts
  • Plate 95 The Arch Across the Ravine, Petra - After David Roberts

    'On the 9th of March, Roberts visited the main entry route to Petra, known as the Sik, a spectacular gorge about a mile in length, which runs right up to the temple of El Khasne. Obscure, unsettling, and intriguing, the canyon is extremely narrow, perennially immersed in shadows, and clamped between cliff walls that rise from three hundred to six hundred feet high. At certain points the cliff walls almost seem to touch, blocking out any sky whatsoever. The illustration [by Roberts] shows an arch that once spanned the bottom of the canyon, connecting the two walls and reaching upwards to a considerable height; the lower section of the arch structure was cut out of the living rock and was decorated with two very deep niches, presumably meant to hold the simulacra of the patron deities of Petra.' [1]


    Roberts wrote in his diary on the 9th March 'Explored the grand entrance to Petra, which may be about a mile in length, winding between the high rocks by which the Valley is enclosed, in many parts overhanging so as almost to meet each other...This was the grand entrance into Petra, and is still used by the Arabs.' [2]


    The drawings and watercolours from this tour of the Holy Land and Egypt by David Roberts were collated together into lithographic folios and released over a seven year period (1842-1849) by the publisher F.G. Moon from 20 Threadneedle Street London. This lithograph is from the Royal Subscription Edition (1842-1849) which includes original hand-colouring from Louis Haghe's studio. There were only around 500 copies produced per lithograph in this edition.


    Medium: Original Royal Subscription Edition, hand-coloured lithograph on thin India paper.


    Half Plate 95.


    Inscribed l.r. 'Triumphal arch crossing the Ravine heading to Petra' and l.l. 'David Roberts R.A.', 31.8 x 20.9 cm (lithograph size), mounted.




    [1] Fabio Bourbon (ed). Yesterday and Today: The Holy Land. Swan Hill Press: London, 1997, p.90. Translated by Antony Shugaar.


    [2] David Roberts' Egyptian and Holy Land Journal, 9th March 1839.


    Condition report: a few very small marks on the lithograph. The work is generally in excellent condition.

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