The Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Portrait of the artist. David Roberts, as painted by Robert Scott Lauder in 1840, soon after Roberts’s return to England from the Holy Land. A half century before the rise of Near Eastern archaeology, Roberts kindled a huge popular interest in the lands of the Bible through vivid lithographs that combined exotic local color with reportorial accuracy. Roberts preferred to dress as the local Arabs did when he toured the Near East, and traveled by camel caravan with a Bedouin escort. Though most of Roberts’s lithographs were of architectural or historic sites, he was an acute observer of the people around him and made a point of painting their dress as accurately as possible.