David Roberts Biography | Oil Paintings

10-24-1796 Stockbridge, SCO - 11-25-1864 London, ENG

Roberts, David

David Roberts (the painter) at the age of 10, was apprenticed for seven years to a house painter and decorator named Gavin Beugo, who also apprenticed the artist David Ramsay Hay. During his apprenticeship, he studied art in the evenings and after his apprenticeship was complete, David Roberts's first real job was in 1815, when he moved to Perth to be a foreman for the redecoration of Scone Palace. His career as a painter and designer of stage scenery began with his next job, painting scenery for James Bannister's circus.

Although he was making a living from scene painting, it was around this time that David Roberts began to produce oil paintings seriously. In the autumn of 1824, he visited Normandy, his paintings from this trip began to lay the foundation of his style, one of them, a view of Rouen Cathedral.

By 1829 he was working full-time as a fine artist. That year, he exhibited the Departure of the Israelites from Egypt, in which his style first became noticeably clear. The Society of British Artists elected him president in1831. In 1832 he traveled to Spain and Tangiers for a year, making sketches that he later used to make finished paintings. The British Institution exhibited his Interior of Seville Cathedral in 1834, and it sold for £300 (equal to US$40,000 today).

J.M.W. Turner managed to persuade him to abandon scene painting and devote himself to becoming a full-time artist. So David Roberts set sail for Egypt in 1838 with the intent to produce drawings that he could later use for his paintings and lithographs. Egypt was much in vogue at this time, and travelers, collectors, and lovers of antiquities were keen to buy works inspired by the Near East.

Roberts made a long tour in Egypt, Nubia, the Sinai, the Holy Land, Jordan, and Lebanon, producing a vast collection of drawings and watercolor sketches. On his return to Britain after the two-year trip, David Roberts worked with lithographer Louis Haghe from 1842 to 1849 to produce the lavishly illustrated plates of the Sketches in the Holy Land and Syria, and Egypt & Nubia series. The scenery and monuments of Egypt and the Holy Land were fashionable but hardly touched by British artists, and so Roberts quickly accumulated 400 subscription commitments, with Queen Victoria being subscriber No. 1. In 1851, and again in 1853, Roberts made trips to Italy painting in Rome and Venice, to sketch and paint the scenery there.

Art Movement: Orientalism.
Artists Influencing David Roberts: Gavin Beugo, David Ramsay Hay.
He Traveled To Italy, England, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Spain, Algeria, France, Belgium.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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