Roberts, David (1796-1864) - 1844 Interior of Rosslyn Chapel (Sotheby's London, 2006)
Oil on canvas; 106.5 by 83 cm.
David Roberts RA was a Scottish painter. He is especially known for a prolific series of detailed prints of Egypt and the Near East that he produced during the 1840s from sketches he made during long tours of the region (1838–1840). This work, and his large oil paintings of similar subjects, made him a prominent Orientalist painter. He was elected as a Royal Academician in 1841.
It was J.M.W. Turner who managed to persuade him to abandon scene painting and devote himself to becoming a true artist. Roberts set sail for Egypt in August 1838. His intent was to produce drawings that he could later use as the basis for the paintings and lithographs to sell to the public. Egypt was much in vogue at this time, and travelers, collectors and lovers of antiquities were keen to buy works inspired by the East or depicting the great monuments of ancient Egypt. Roberts made a long tour in Egypt, Nubia, the Sinai, the Holy Land, Jordan and Lebanon. Throughout, he produced a vast collection of drawings and watercolor sketches.