Monday, July 26, 2010

David Roberts visit to the "Holy Lands"

Jerusalem/Al Quds
A view of the Lake Tiberiad
When I was 6 we lived three years in the South of Lebanon. My dad used to take us on a picnic on some hill near the Israeli border . He'd point out in the direction of a glittering lake and say, "What you see there is the Lake Tabarayyah, it's Palestine, occupied now by Israel"..I realise today how sentences like these gently introduce one to a whole tragic chapter of history. Apart from this all I can say now is that the whole scenery was of unimaginable beauty..

This page describes the travels and the drawings of David Roberts in the Holy Land outside of Jordan. His drawings of Petra can be seen on another page.

David Roberts (1796-1864) was born near Edinburgh, Scotland. As a child his artistic talent was encouraged by his family, through an apprenticeship to a house painter. He later became a scenery painter first to a travelling circus and later to Covent Garden Opera, all the while, improving as an illustrator. He worked hard to become accepted as a landscape painter and gradually acquired a number of important patrons. He quickly learned the value of sketching "on the spot", and began to lay the plans for a trip to Egypt and the Holy Land to draw the famous ruins and biblical locations to be found there. He believed, rightly as it turned out, that there would be a great market in England and Europe for images of such exotic subjects.

In Roberts' day few persons journeyed much beyond their home town. Travel was difficult, slow and expensive. With photography just in its infancy, printed books of landscape and travel drawings were for most people their only window to the world outside.

The reports of discoveries in the Middle East where the travels of Burckhardt to Petra, to Abu Simbel and to Mecca were fascinating the romantic spirits in Britain and Roberts decided to make a long visit there, sketching and painting as many places as he could visit. Throughout the summer of 1838 Roberts arranged for his travels, withdrawing his savings to pay for necessary expenses. He was not then a wealthy man, and the entire project was very much a gamble. At the end of August Roberts departed for Alexandria, at the mouth of the Nile River, arriving after nearly a month at sea. Armed with letters of introduction to British diplomats and Egyptian officials, Roberts made his way to Cairo. There he would find the necessary help and organization for his travels, and the no less necessary permits and safe conducts. He started by exploring the Nile, hiring a boat and going directly as far upstream as far as possible, then returning at a leisurely pace, making detailed additions to preliminary sketches. On his return in January, he rented a house in Cairo for six weeks, while the preparations for the rest of his trip were finished.

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  1. Facebook bans the word "Palestinian". Is this an old story? Seems I've heard something like this before -

  2. <span>Jemmy, it's also a post on Mondoweiss (Paul Woodward). 
    A discussion is taking place right now..Some have tested this and concluded that what's forbidden is creating pages but not groups..Now I'm not sure of the difference..Besides, I'm off facebook for 4 months. The attempts to "befriend" me ( scantily clad, too good to be true chicks who have not a single friend or any infos or notes or other photos, and yet interested in my person)  have become too much.</span>

  3. As for this info to be old now, I'm not sure. I haven't hreard of it before.

  4. It must have been some other outfit that wouldn't recognise the word, or some other skullduggery involving facebook.

  5. Thanks, and I still remember the tabulleh we ate then.. Unbelievable..

  6. <span>À la recherche du temps perdu</span>

  7. You might like to know that I share something with Proust..I love madelaines..but no such a thing over here in Sydney. .But they do have muffins..Close but...

  8. <span>I was inspired by Proust to learn how to make madeleines. Once a year I make my own. I use this baking pan! 

  9. Damn! This made me drool..