Lot 19
  • 19

CARL HAAG | The Holy Rock, Jerusalem

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Attributed to Carl Haag
  • The Holy Rock, Jerusalem
  • inscribed, signed and dated The Holy Rock. Jerusalem. Original Study finished on the Spot, by Carl Haag. June 1859. lower left
  • watercolour over pencil on paper
  • 36 by 52cm., 14 by 20½in.


Private collection, UK (acquired directly from the artist, possibly in 1885); thence by descent
Somerville & Co. Ltd., London
Purchased from the above by the present owner in 2015


Possibly, London, The Goupil Galleries, The Works of Mr. Carl Haag, R.W.S., 1885, no. 6, listed

Catalogue Note

This and the following two works depict the Muslim shrine of the Dome of the Rock, on the Temple Mount in the old city of Jerusalem. The rock over which the shrine was built is sacred to both Muslims and Jews. The Prophet Muhammad is traditionally believed to have ascended into heaven from the site. In Jewish tradition it is here that Abraham, the progenitor and first patriarch of the Jewish people, is said to have prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. The first of the three works depicts the rock itself; the second, the outer arcade of the Dome; and the third, the cave underneath the rock. Initially completed in 691–92 CE at the order of the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik on the site of the Second Jewish Temple, destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the original dome collapsed in 1015 and was rebuilt in 1022–23. Its octagonal plan and mosaics were modelled on nearby Byzantine churches and palaces, although its outside appearance has been significantly changed in the Ottoman period and again in the modern period.

When Haag painted these views, neither he nor any other non-Muslim had free access to the interior of the Dome or to its precincts. However, as Haag's inscriptions attest, it appears he painted these works in situ. After settling in England Haag enjoyed the patronage of Queen Victoria through whose offices Haag may have received special dispensation to visit these holy sites in 1859.