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David Roberts, 1796–1864
The Hypostyle Hall of the Great Temple at Abu Simbel, Egypt
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on panel
14 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches (36.8 x 54.6 cm), Frame: 22 1/2 × 28 3/4 inches (57.2 × 73 cm)

Signed and dated in brown, lower left: "David Roberts R.A. 1849"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | architecture | book | colossal | columns (architectural elements) | Egyptian | Egyptian architecture | frescoes | genre subject | gods | hall | hieroglyphics | hypostyle hall | men | reading | robes | sarcophaguses | sculpture | temple | turbans | visitors
Associated Places:
Abu Simbel | As Said | Egypt
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

A successful landscape painter, David Roberts embarked on a yearlong tour of Egypt and the Holy Land in 1838. As the first British artist to tour the Near East, he planned to turn the journey into a lucrative commercial opportunity. On his return, he worked his sketches up into finished paintings to show in public exhibitions and made watercolor views for serial lithographic reproduction in what became Holy Land (1842–49), one of the most important colorplate books of the nineteenth century. In November 1838, Roberts reached the temples built by Ramesses II at Abu Simbel in southern Egypt and made extensive sketches. This view of the temple’s entrance was not painted until over a decade after he returned home.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Abu Simbel was a common destination for artists and other tourists in Egypt. Several representations of the site by Edward Lear are also shown here. Roberts visited Abu Simbel in November 1838 and recorded his impressions of it in his journal: "On descending into the splendid hall, over the sand which again almost reaches to the top of the door, a double row is seen of colossal figures, representing Rameses the Great; . . . there are four on each side, their arms crossed on their breasts, and bearing in their hands the crook and the scourge-emblems of government or power."

Gallery label for Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11)

The Critique of Reason : Romantic Art, 1760–1860 (Yale University Art Gallery, 2015-03-06 - 2015-07-26) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs (Yale Peabody Museum, 2013-04-13 - 2014-01-04) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Edward Lear and the Art of Travel (Yale Center for British Art, 2000-09-20 - 2001-01-14) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Oil on Water - Oil Sketches by British Watercolorists (Yale Center for British Art, 1986-08-26 - 1986-11-09) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 190-191, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Oil on water, oil sketches by British watercolorists , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1986, pp. 48-49, fig. 50, ND467 C67 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Colleen Manassa, Echoes of Egypt, conjuring the land of the pharaohs, an exhibition at the Peabody Museum of Natural History, April 13, 2013 through January 4, 2014 , Yale Peabody Museum, 2013, p. 62, DT61 .E31 2013 (YCBA) [YCBA]

David Roberts, Record books., England, v. 1, fol. 124, no. 131, ND497.R63 R43 1829 (YCBA) [YCBA]

The lure of the east : British Orientalist painting: wall labels, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2008, p. [101], V 2577 (YCBA) V 2577 [YCBA]

The lure of the East, British orientalist painting, 1830-1925 , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2008, p. 17, V 1879 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Edward Lear and the art of travel, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2000, pp. 176-7, no. 196, NJ18 L455 W55 2000 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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