British, 1796–1864

David Roberts

David Roberts came from a humble background and was initially apprenticed to a painter-decorator, but soon turned his hand to stage set design. In 1822, while working for the Theatre Royal in Edinburgh and beginning to submit architectural compositions for exhibition there, he travelled to London, where he produced designs for the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane and the Opera House in Covent Garden. In 1824 he visited Normandy, where he made drawings of Gothic buildings. He went on to visit most of Europe, venturing as far as Syria and Egypt, sketching subjects that he would later translate into oils and watercolours. Many of these studies were subsequently lithographed, notably Picturesque Sketches in Spain, Sketches in the Holy Land and Syria, and Classical, Historical and Picturesque, all of which proved popular and profitable. Roberts was also a contributor over many years to the Landscape Annual. Towards the end of his career, he turned his focus once more to British subjects.

Critics have identified three distinct phases in David Roberts' career: until 1838, he used bold and luminous colors inspired by 18th century Dutch Masters, but following his trips to the Middle and Near East, his style became more clinical and the colors less vivid. Towards the end of his life, his colors darkened perceptibly.

Roberts became an associate member of the Royal Academy in 1839 and a full member two years later, and from 1842 was a member of the Society of British Artists. He exhibited in London at the Suffolk Street Gallery until 1836 (Benezit, Dictionary of Artists, Gründ, 2006).

Museum Collections:
Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham
Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY
Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton
Tate Gallery, London
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Wallace Collection, London

Mark Murray Fine Paintings is a New York gallery specializing in buying and selling 19th century and early 20th century artwork. 

Paintings for sale

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Please contact us if you are interested in selling your David Roberts paintings or other artwork from the 19th century and early 20th century. 

DAVID ROBERTS    Burgos Cathedral, Spain   Watercolor over pencil on paper 15¾ x 10½ inches (40.4 x 26.9 cm)  SOLD

Burgos Cathedral, Spain
Watercolor over pencil on paper
15¾ x 10½ inches (40.4 x 26.9 cm)