David Roberts: Artist and Traveler

June 4 – August 27, 2022

Melvin Henderson-Rubio Gallery


David Roberts, in collaboration with Louis Haghe, “The Great Temple of Aboo Simble (Abu Simbel), Nubia,” November 9, 1838, in “The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, and Nubia,” vol. 4, 1842‒49, Royal Subscription Edition, hand-colored lithograph, sheet size 16 7/16 x 23 15/16 inches, image size 12 7/8 x 19 1/4 inches, collection of Ken and Linda Sheppard.

David Roberts, in collaboration with Louis Haghe, “The Great Temple of Aboo Simble (Abu Simbel), Nubia,” November 9, 1838, in “The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, and Nubia,” vol. 4, 1842‒49, Royal Subscription Edition, hand-colored lithograph, sheet size 16 7/16 x 23 15/16 inches, image size 12 7/8 x 19 1/4 inches, collection of Ken and Linda Sheppard.

David Roberts (Scottish, 1796-1864) was a self-taught painter who rose from the depths of poverty and obscurity in Edinburgh to become one of the most celebrated artists and travelers of his generation, a member of the Royal Academy, and an artist whose work can be found in some of the most distinguished public and private collections in Europe and America. A highly ambitious and motivated artist who loved to travel, he is best known for “The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, and Nubia,” a travelogue illustrated with 247 hand-colored and tinted lithographs that depicted the temples, tombs, churches, and important historical sites in Egypt and the Holy Land. These prints were produced with renowned lithographer Louis Haghe from sketches Roberts made during a nine-month trip to the region in 1838-39.

Roberts’s exquisitely rendered prints of the Middle East, as well as the prints of Moorish Spain that he made on a trip there a decade earlier, firmly established him as an important Orientalist painter and the most accomplished architectural and topographical painter of his day. In addition to appealing to the growing European and American appetite for travel to exotic places as well as the need to add veracity to the Bible, Roberts’s prints had a profound impact on the emerging fields of Egyptology and biblical archaeology.

Organized by Director John Olbrantz, who has been interested in Roberts’s work for forty-four years, the exhibition features 60 prints of Spain, Egypt, Nubia, and the Holy Land on loan from Ken and Linda Sheppard. The exhibition is supplemented by several watercolors by Roberts on loan from the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut and the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California.

Ken Sheppard, an attorney and collector, is one of the foremost authorities on the life and art of David Roberts in the United States. Sheppard says, “By the time David Roberts embarked on his artistic career, ‘Egyptomania’ was in full flower in England, resulting in high demand for art depicting ancient Egyptian scenes. It is often said that a good work of art can transport the viewer to a different time and place. I have visited most of the scenes Roberts drew, and can say that without exception he caught not just the forms and shapes of the locations, but the spirit and feeling of the sites in a way that shines through even after the passage of 180 years.”


Exhibition Related Events

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Members/VIP Opening Reception

Celebrating: David Roberts: Artist and Traveler

Saturday, June 4, 2019, 10 am - Noon
Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Members and museum invited guests only
New Members
 are welcome to join at the event or online

RSVP ONLINE BY MAY 28, 2022

Or by phone at 503-370-6855 or by email at museum-art@willamette.edu

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Lecture
David Roberts and the Golden Age of
Travel Lithography

Collector Ken Sheppard
Saturday June 4, 2022 
1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Paulus Lecture Hall
Willamette University College of Law
Free and open to the public

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Book Signing
David Roberts: Artist and Traveler

Author John Olbrantz
Saturday, June 11, 2022 (Please note this is an updated date)
2:00-4:00 pm
Maribeth Collins Lobby
Hallie Ford Museum of Art
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Gallery Talks
David Roberts: Artist and Traveler

Director and Exhibition Curator John Olbrantz
Tuesday, July 12 and Tuesday, August 9, 2022
12:30—1:30 pm
Melvin Henderson-Rubio Gallery and Maribeth Collins Lobby
Hallie Ford Museum of Art


Exhibition Monograph


The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color, cloth covered book written by Olbrantz, chronicling Roberts’s career from his birth in 1796 to his death in 1864. The 152-page monograph includes an extensive essay by Olbrantz on Roberts’s life and career, endnotes to the essay, a brief chronology of the artist’s life, a selected bibliography for further reading, 96 mostly full-color illustrations, and an introduction by collector Ken Sheppard. The book will retail for $45.


Financial Support

David Roberts: Artist and Traveler has been made possible by gifts from the Wyss Foundation, the Allan Rappaport Charitable Foundation, Nathan Good Architects, and several anonymousdonors; with funds from the HFMA Exhibition Fund and the Hallie Ford Exhibition Fund; by advertising support from The Oregonian/Oregon Live; and by general operating support grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission

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David Roberts, "Cairo, Looking West" (detail), 1839

Related Links

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