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Royal Subscription Edition (RSE)

This was the luxury edition produced for subscribers and is the most valuable for collectors today. Subscribers of this folio included: Her Majesty Queen Victoria, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Kings of France, Prussia and Bavaria, the Emperors of Russia and Austria, the Pasha of Egypt and Charles Dickens. All full plate lithographs measure roughly 13" x 20" and half plate lithographs 10" x 13". The RSE lithographs were always printed on thin ‘India’ paper before being trimmed around the image and then being stuck on to thicker card (Fig. 1). This allowed the patrons of the publication to bind their works into books or folios as they wished. The lithographs were not stuck down in the centre which means they often appear ‘wavy’ in the middle when viewed up close. We have examples of RSE lithographs stuck on their original card backings and also ones which have been removed and stuck on more modern mounts (Fig. 2). 


Fig.1 An RSE lithograph of Ras El Arad on the coast of Syria stuck onto an original backing card.


Fig. 2 RSE lithograph of the Doorway of Baalbec that has been removed from its original backing card and placed under a new mount.

The RSE lithographs were also the only ones that included original hand-colouring by Louis Haghe’s studio assistants. Roberts provided all of his original watercolours for them to copy. The ‘India’ paper also appears as a darker shade to the SE lithographs helping to make them easy to decipher when viewed closely. Sometimes when the RSE lithographs were trimmed Roberts’ inscriptions or his signature are cut off slightly. There are less than five hundred copies of each RSE plate making them highly collectable.


Fig.3 Detail of the RSE lithograph for Colossal Statue at the Entrance to the Temple of Luxor. Note part of the inscription has been cut off which is common on RSE prints as this was done by Haghe's studio after the lithograph had been printed on stone. The print would then be stuck onto a backing card such as the one in Fig. 1.

RSE Lithographs for sale

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