The Folio Society Limited Edition (LE) of The Holy Land and Egypt and Nubia has long been of interest to me due to the stunning beauty of Robert’s work. This LE contains all 247 lithographs that Roberts produced, in a marvelously produced facsimile, reproduced from one of the few complete hand-coloured copies in existence.
David Roberts (1796 – 1864) was a Scottish painter best known for the prolific series of detailed lithographs, produced in the 1840’s, of Egypt and the Near East. He had created many sketches during a three year journey in the region. The lithographic plates were created from these sketches, taking about seven years to do so (1842 to 1849). As for the rest of the story, as said on the FS website:
On his return to London, Roberts sought a publisher for his work, eventually signing a contract with Francis G. Moon for £3,000 – an enormous sum, the equivalent of over £200,000 today. Critics and the public lined up to praise Roberts’s works when they were first exhibited. The press lauded the aesthetic quality of his art, its historical and topographical accuracy, and the grandeur of its subject matter. Publication of the first edition was a slow and enormously expensive process. It was printed in sections, each one containing six hand-coloured lithographs created from the original drawings. But Moon’s investment paid off. There was no shortage of subscribers, with Queen Victoria (to whom the Holy Land series is dedicated) and Charles Dickens among those reserving a set. Roberts’s pictures had caught the imagination of the British public and set a trend for Orientalism in art that would continue to shape the way in which the West perceived the East.
About the Edition
- Edition of 1,000, hand-numbered on a special limitation page in both volumes
- 2 magnificent volumes measuring 20″ x 13 ¾”
- Binding by Bortolazzi, in full canvas cloth printed silkscreen in black and gold
- Designs by Neil Gower derived from Roberts’s originals
- Printed by Editoriale Bortolazzi, Verona, on heavyweight Gardapat Kiara paper
- Photography by Michael Pollard
- Gilded top edges, ribbon marker
- Reprographics by Dot Reproductions
- The Holy Land: Syria, Idumea and Arabia: 304 pages, including 123 plates, portrait of Roberts and map
- Egypt and Nubia: 272 pages, including 124 plates and map
- Presented in hand-made slipcases bound in cloth and lined in coloured paper, with inserts in the bases to support the weight of the books