The Chancel of the Church of the Nativity (or St. Helena), Bethlehem

David Roberts, 1842 possibly

WAG 8140

About this object

This watercolour is related to two other works by Roberts. The first is a painting called 'The Greek Church of the Holy Nativity at Bethlehem'. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1840. It was last sold by the Manchester merchant Samuel Mendel (1811 - 1884) at his sale at Christie's on 23 April 1875, lot 311, and bought by Poole (dates unrecorded) for £1417. 10s. 0. It then appeared in 1911 at the Glasgow Exhibition (no. 117), to which it was lent by William Baird (dates unrecorded). It is now untraced. The sketch of this painting in Roberts' diaries and memoranda confirm that the painting was very close in design to the Walker's watercolour.

A print was also made of the composition for inclusion as plate 43 in volume II of Roberts' 'The Holy Land: Syria, Idumea, Arabia, etc., 1842-1849'. The lithograph print was made by Louis Haghe (1806 - 1885) and dated 1 December 1842. The Walker's work, which is undated, is the finished drawing for this print. They are identical in composition. The Walker's work has been overlaid with a grid, or squared up, to help Haghe transfer the design from the watercolour on to the lithograph stone section by section.

Roberts visited and sketched the Church of the Nativity (or St Helena) in Bethlehem between 4 and 6 April 1839. An account of his visit is recorded in his diary and appears in James Ballantine's (1806 - 1877) 'The Life of David Roberts R.A', published in 1866.

Object specifics

  • Other title(s)
    The Chancel of the Church of the Nativity (or St. Helena) Bethlehem
  • Artist(s)
    David Roberts (British: Scottish, born:24 October 1796, died:25 November 1864)
  • Date
    1842 possibly
  • Materials
    Pen; Ink; Watercolour; Gouache; Paper
  • Measurements
    32 x 47 cm
  • Physical description
    Church interior with decorative mouldings and pillars. People are gathered near the steps on the left and in the centre.
  • Related people
    Agnew's Gallery (Previous owner); Cecil Francis Joseph Beausire (Previous owner); Thomas Brassey (Previous owner); Francis Egerton (Previous owner); David Roberts (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 8140
  • Credit line
    Bequeathed to the Walker Art Gallery by C F J Beausire in 1972
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections

Explore related

Publications

  • English Watercolours in the Collection of C F J Beausire

    Edward Morris

    Author: Edward Morris
    Publisher: Walker Art Gallery, Printed by Elliot Bros. & Yeoman Ltd.
    Date: 1970
    Description:

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Cecil Francis Joseph Beausire

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1972
    Disposal method: Bequeathed to the Walker Art Gallery in 1972
  • Agnew's Gallery

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Thomas Brassey

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Agnew's Gallery

    Owned from: 1870
    How acquired: bought at Christies on 2 April 1870, Lot 86
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Francis Egerton

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1870
    Disposal method: Sold at Christie's on 2 April 1870, Lot 86

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: Legger Galleries, February 1966
    Inscription method: Label
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back
  • Inscription text: 4933
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back
  • Inscription text: Fine A. Soc. 1548
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Mount
  • Inscription text: BBE 2
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Backing
Object view = Fine Art
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