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Lot 93

David Roberts, "The Holy Land" – First Quarto Edition – London, 1855-1856 – 250 Prints

The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia, after lithographs by Louise Haghe from drawings made on the spot by David Roberts, R.A. London: Day & Day, 1855-56. English. Six parts in three volumes.
David Roberts's monumental work, "The Holy Land". Copy of the first quarto edition. Six parts, including 248 lithographs after drawings by Roberts and two engraved maps delineating the route of his journey through the Middle East. With descriptions by George Croly and William Brockedon.
The lithographs depict edifices, ruins, churches, mosques, cities, landscapes, and holy sites throughout Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, the Transjordan and Egypt, and document the journeys taken by Roberts in 1839-1840.
From the standpoint of the print industry, "The Holy Land" represented an unprecedented accomplishment in its time, presenting numerous Holy Land views, originally printed in folio size (approx. 60 cm.), created under Roberts's supervision by some of the most prominent printmakers of that period. The project took almost a decade to complete, and was funded by the work's pre-purchasers, who included Queen Victoria, the Austrian emperor, the Russian Tsar, the kings of France and Prussia, the Archbishops of York and Canterbury, and others.
The vast size of the books – as well as the ambitious scope of the work – aroused considerable criticism among many readers, who complained that it was difficult to use and almost impossible to read. The scholar and author Titus Tobler, for instance, protested that "the work is so heavy that in order to deliver it my house, three hours away, the volumes were divided into two separate loads. It was thus possible for me to study this inconvenient thing at leisure. The scholarly world yields no benefit from it" (Titus Tobler, Bibliographia geographica Palaestinae, Leipzig, 1867. p. 229; German). In light of such criticism, the publication house decided to print an additional edition in a smaller, more easily readable format, namely the quatro format. The quarto edition was printed in 1855-1856.

Volume I (Parts 1-2): [3] ff., 35 pp., [23] ff. + 1-44 plates; [1] f., 3 pp., [22] ff. + 45-87 plates. Volume II (Parts 3-4): [1], 3 pp., [19] ff. + 88-125 plates; [1] f., 9 pp., [22] ff. + 126-168 plates. Volume III (Parts 5-6): [23] ff. + 169-212 plates; [20] ff. + 213-250 plates. Approx. 29 cm. Gilt edges. Good condition. Foxing. Minor blemishes. Elegant bindings with leather corners. Minor wear to bindings.

See: Nathan Schur, The Book of Travellers to the Holy Land, Jerusalem: Keter, 1988, pp. 129-30 (Hebrew).
Provenance: The Rimon Family Collection.