David Roberts

1796 - 1864

Painter. Born in Stockbridge (Edinburgh), the son of a shoemaker, Roberts became an apprentice house-painter. He was appointed as a theatrical scene-painter, first at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow (1818-20), at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh (1820-22) and then in London. He exhibited his first paintings in Edinburgh in 1822 and by 1830 had become a full-time artist, close to a group of Scottish artists working in London, such as Sir David Wilkie (1785 - 1841). Roberts made several trips abroad, visiting France with John Wilson (1774 - 1855) and later with Alexander Fraser (1786 - 1865), Spain, Morocco, Italy, the Middle East and Egypt, where he recorded a number of antiquities. Roberts was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1838 and a Member in 1841. His work includes Departure of the Israelites from Egypt (1829), View of Edinburgh from the Ramparts of the Castle (1846), Tomb in St Jacques, Bourges (1848) in Aberdeen Art Gallery, Rome: Sunset from the Convent of Sant' Onofrio on the Janiculum (1856) and Ruins of the Temple of the Sun at Baalbec (1861) His prints proved commercially popular. The National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh also has a number of his works and, in 2006, the National Galleries of Scotland recovered a collection of 57 of his paintings, including one of Rosslyn Castle, following an attempt to defraud them of the Guiterman legacy.

A plaque on Gloucester Street in Stockbridge records the house in which he was born.

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