Lot 2
  • 2

DAVID ROBERTS, R.A. | Bullack [Bulaq, Cairo]

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
93,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Roberts
  • Bullack [Bulaq, Cairo]
  • signed David Roberts R.A. lower left, inscribed and dated Bullack Jany [sic] 15th 1838 lower right, further inscribed on the mount: AT BULLACK ENVIRONS OF / CAIRO.
  • watercolour over pencil, heightened with bodycolour


Sale: Sotheby's, London, 26 March 1975, lot 171
Hildegard Fritz-Denneville Fine Arts, London (purchased at the above sale)
Purchased from the above by the present owner, May 1975 


by Louis Haghe for Egypt and Nubia (vol. III), in The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Egypt and Nubia, London 1849, pl. 111 (with the above title) & 1856, vol. VI, pl. 237 (as Principal Mosque at Boulak) 

Catalogue Note

This fine drawing shows the minaret of the Mosque and Tomb of Abu al-‘Ila at Bulaq, the main port of Cairo in the nineteenth century. Constructed by Ibn al-Qanish al-Burullusi, this mosque is dedicated to Shaykh Husayn Abu 'Ali, of which Abu a-'Ila is a corruption. The shaykh was buried in the mausoleum shortly after 1485. On 2 January 1839, Roberts noted in his journal that he 'took a stroll through a part of the city I had not hitherto visited and was more and more surprised both at the extent and at the splendour of its tottering remains... A beautiful Minaret remains still be done at Bullack, one of the suburbs where all visitors land on their way from Cairo’ (MS Eastern Journal, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh). The date on this drawing confirms that he returned to sketch it.

We are very grateful to Briony Llewellyn for her help when cataloguing this lot.