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Details & Cataloguing

Old Master & British Works on Paper

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London

David Roberts, R.A.
EDINBURGH 1796 - 1864 LONDON
THE SHRINE OF THE HOLY NATIVITY, BETHLEHEM
Watercolour over pencil, heightened with bodycolour;
signed lower right: David Roberts, R.A.; inscribed and dated lower left: Shrine of the Holy Nativity / Bethlehem April 6th 1839
207 by 317 mm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Sale, London, Sotheby's, 10 April 1997, lot 126,
where acquired by Bernadette and William M.B. Berger, Denver, Colorado



Lithographed:

by Louis Haghe for The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Egypt and Nubia, London, 1842-49, vol. 3, pl. 55

Literature

K. Sim, David Roberts, R.A., London 1984, p. 190

Catalogue Note

In early April 1839, Roberts rode out of Jerusalem with the intention of visiting Bethlehem. He crossed the River Jordan, bathed in the Dead Sea, then sketched at the Monastery of Saint Saba, where he remained for two days before traveling on, through the wildness, to Bethlehem. There, he stayed at the Convent of the Nativity and made the present watercolour on the 6th April. On that day, he noted in his diary as follows: ‘Today, while I was sketching the interior of the chapel, a man arrived from Jerusalem with the sacred fire, which the priests say comes from heaven; and the whole of the Greek Christians turned out to receive him, carrying banners, and headed by their priests.’ We are grateful to Briony Llewellyn for her help when cataloguing this work.

Old Master & British Works on Paper

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London