David Roberts' The Holy Land and Egypt & Nubia are considered one of the great lithographically illustrated works of the 19th century.
Robert's magnificent watercolors done during his travels in Egypt and the Middle East were published in London as lithographs by Louis Haghe in 41 parts over seven years (1842-1849). According to Roberts, Haghe has not only surpassed himself, but all that has hitherto been done of a similar nature. He has rendered the views [Robert's watercolors] in a style clear, simple and unlaboured, with a masterly vigour and boldness which none but a painter like him could have transferred to stone.
David Roberts was born at Stockbridge near Edinburgh in 1796 and at the age of 10 apprenticed to Gavin Buego, a house painter. Following his apprenticeship, Roberts did faux stone-work and paneling at Scone Palace and Abercairney Abbey. In 1818, Roberts worked as an assistant scene painter in theaters in Edinburgh, Glasgow and in 1821 at the Drury Lane Theater in London. Throughout the 1820's, he exhibited at the Society of British Artists and the Royal Academy. By 1830 Roberts was firmly established as a topographical artist. He was able to give up his theatre work and travel. He toured the continent and Scotland and in 1832-33 visited Spain. In 1838 he planned his trip to the Near East, his most important artistic journey. In August, 1839, he departed for Alexandria and spent the remaining part of the year in Cairo, visiting numerous tombs and other sites. The following year he crossed the desert in order to get to the Holy Land by way of Suez, Mount Sinai, Petra, and Gaza. He went on to Jerusalem and spent several months visiting the key biblical sites and returned to England at the end of 1839. The subsequent exhibition of his original watercolors and the published work of Haghe's lithographs were an immense success and established David Roberts' reputation as one of England's greatest architectural and landscape artists. Roberts died in 1864 in London.