19th Century Watercolour Italy by David Roberts RA 1796-1864
19th Century Watercolour Italy by David Roberts RA 1796-1864
19th Century Watercolour Italy by David Roberts RA 1796-1864
19th Century Watercolour Italy by David Roberts RA 1796-1864
19th Century Watercolour Italy by David Roberts RA 1796-1864
19th Century Watercolour Italy by David Roberts RA 1796-1864

19th Century Watercolour Italy by David Roberts RA 1796-1864

c. 1880 England

Offered by Roger Bradbury Antiques

£500 gbp
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A beautiful watercolour from a large private collection. The collector went to the trouble of describing and labelling his pictures which reads verso:
Museum Piece Antiques, 69a High Street, Godalming, Surrey
David Roberts RA (1796-1864) Landscape with pine trees, possibly New Rome from convent of St Onofrio around 1855. See life of David Roberts by Jamo Ballantine Sketch opp page 182 Anott and Calver, Woodbridge.

Beautifully presented within a lime washed, glazed frame with attractive eight sided cream and gilded mount. An excellent painting which would complement any fine collection

Size including frame: L33cm H42.4cm
David Roberts was born at Duncan's Land (now 8 Gloucester Street), Stockbridge near Edinburgh, the son of John Roberts, a shoemaker, and Christian Richie.

At the age of 10, he was apprenticed for seven years to a house painter and decorator named Gavin Beugo, his fellow apprentice being David Ramsay Hay, who became a lifelong friend. During this time he studied art in the evenings. After his apprenticeship was complete, Roberts's first paid job came in the summer 1815, when he moved to Perth to serve as foreman for the redecoration of Scone Palace. Roberts returned in the spring of 1816 and lived with his parents while looking for work.

His next job was to paint scenery for James Bannister's circus on North College Street. This was the beginning of his career as a painter and designer of stage scenery. Bannister liked Roberts's set designs and on 10 April 1816 engaged him at a salary of 25 shillings per week to travel with the circus on a tour or England. Roberts departed Edinburgh with the circus later the same month and travelled to Carlisle, Newcastle, Hull and York, returning to Edinburgh in January 1817. During his time with the circus, Roberts was called on to take several minor stage roles as a foil for the clowns' skits.

For the first few months of 1817, Roberts worked as the stage designer's assistant at the Pantheon Theatre, Edinburgh, a new joint venture between Bannister and an Italian musician named Corri. However the Pantheon was a financial failure and closed in May 1817, putting Roberts out of work. He reluctantly returned to house painting, working on the mansion house of Abercairny, near Perth, designed by Gillespie Graham. Although he was working from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. he took the opportunity to sketch in the woods around the mansion in the evening. He followed this up with a stint painting imitation wood and marble at a mansion at Condie, near Bridge of Earn, in Perthshire. At the urging of his parents, Roberts returned to Edinburgh in January 1818, where he took employment with John Jackson, a decorative painter. Working for Jackson during 1818, Roberts decorated Lord Lauderdale’s Dunbar House (known later as Lauderdale House) and then the library of Craigcrook Castle for Lord Jeffrey, who had recently leased the property.

In 1818, the Pantheon Theatre reopened in Edinburgh. Initially, a company from London with their own scene painters was in residence, but after they left, Roberts was able to get work from Corri as a scene painter. While Corri offered Roberts the position on 25 July 1818, he was already committed to house-painting work for Jackson and was unable to start at the Pantheon until the winter season. As there was no separate painting room, Roberts had to paint sets directly on the stage, which was occupied by rehearsals during the day and performances in the evening. Therefore, Roberts generally began work after the evening production had finished, working through the night. Roberts's work was noticed by the stage-manager, Mr. Monro. After the Pantheon closed, Monro moved on to the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, where he arranged for Roberts to be hired as a principal scene-painter.

In 1819, Roberts became the scene painter at the Theatre Royal in Edinburgh (having at this time James Ballantine as his apprentice). There Roberts met the Scottish actress Margaret McLachlan, said to be the illegitimate daughter of a Highland gypsy girl and a clan chief. They married in 1820, "for pure love". Although the marriage did not last long, it produced Roberts' only daughter, Christine, who was born 1821.

Although he was making a living from scene painting, it was around this time that Roberts began to produce oil paintings seriously. In 1821 he became friends with the artist William Clarckson Stanfield, who joined him to paint scenery at the Theatre Royal, and Roberts developed his love of landscape painting. In 1821 the Fine Arts Institution of Edinburgh accepted three of Roberts's paintings – views of Melrose and Dryburgh abbeys – two of which sold. At Stanfield's suggestion, Roberts also sent three pictures to the 1822 Exhibition of Works by Living Artists, held in Edinburgh.

In 1851, and again in 1853, Roberts visited Italy, painting the Ducal Palace, Venice, bought by Lord Londesborough, the Interior of the Basilica of St Peters, Rome, Christmas Day, 1853, and Rome from the Convent of St Onofrio, presented to the Royal Scottish Academy.

His last volume of illustrations, Italy, Classical, Historical and Picturesque, was published in 1859. He also executed, by command of Queen Victoria, a picture of the opening of the Great Exhibition of 1851. In. 1839 he was elected an associate and in 1841 a full member of the Royal Academy; and in 1858 he was presented with the freedom of the city of Edinburgh. The last years of his life were occupied with a series of views of London from the Thames. He had executed six of these, and was at work upon a picture of St Pauls Cathedral seen from Ludgate Hill, when he died suddenly. He collapsed on Berners Street on the afternoon of 25 November 1864 and died at home that evening. The symptoms, described as apoplexy in most histories, were those of a stroke.

He was buried at West Norwood Cemetery.
Dimensions
Height 33.00 cm (12.99 inches)
Width 42.40 cm (16.69 inches)
Stock Code
P30
Roger Bradbury Antiques

Roger Bradbury Antiques
Skeyton Lodge
Long road
Skeyton
Norfolk
NR10 5ED

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