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The Life Of David Roberts, R.A. Compiled From His Journals And Other Sources By James Ballantine With Etchings And Facsimiles Of Pen-And-Ink Sketches By The Artist

James Ballantine

RA Collection: Book

Record number




Edinburgh: Adam And Charles Black, North Bridge, MDCCCLXVI

Physical Description

xiv, 246, [2], 247-255, [1] p., frontis., [15] pl.: [19] illus.; 349 mm. (Folio.)


[Half-t., frontis., t.p., dedic.] - Prefatory Note - Contents - List Of Illustrations - [Text and pl.] - Notes - Appendix - [Divisional t.p., 'Etchings By David Roberts'] - [9 etchings] - List Of Pictures Painted By David Roberts; [colophon].

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece is unsigned, but the List Of Illustrations states that it is engraved by Thomas Oldham Barlow after a painting by John Watson Gordon. Seven of the nine etchings are signed as (drawn and engraved) by D. R(oberts) 1831 (or 1830). The six plates of facsimiles are unsigned; but they are stated in the List Of Illustrations to be 'From Mr. Roberts' Journal'. They and the in-text facsimiles are stated in the List Of Illustrations to be 'printed from blocks produced by Mr. Ramage of Edinburgh, through a photographic process discovered by him.'

The in-text illustration on page 1, showing Roberts's birthplace, is signed as engraved by E.W. Cooke 1859.

The text printer is named on the verso of the title page and in the colophon: 'Printed by R. Clark, Edinburgh.'

The work is dedicated by James Ballantine to Clarkson Stanfield, R.A.


H. Guiterman, David Roberts, R.A.,1796-1864 (1978).

Summary Note

The frontispiece shows a portrait of David Roberts, above a facsimile of his signature.

The fifteen plates consist of nine etchings and six facsimiles. The nine etchings show Falkland Palace; St. Andrews; Blackfriars St. Andrews; Icolmkill; Icolumkill; Caerlaveroc; Sweet Heart; Melrose; Lucheurs. The six facsimiles show Three early sketches; New Abbey and Melrose; Dendera and Jerusalem; Rome; Paestum; London (St. Paul's and Parliament).

The verso of the title page is inscribed in ink, 'No 73', but the size of the print-run is not stated.


Pasted to the front pastedown is an autograph letter by Henry Bicknell dated 6 Decr. 1867, addressed to Solomon A. Hart, librarian of the Royal Academy, in which he presents this copy to the library of the Royal Academy on behalf of his wife [i.e. Christine, daughter of David Roberts]. Bicknell states in this letter that he 'left out of the volume all matter connected with the Royal Academy and all letters of friends who might be unwilling to see their correspondence in print' and admits that 'By this the work was made probably less attractive than it might have been ...' .

Binding Note

19th-century brown cloth, upper and lower covers having black borders, upper cover with gilt-stamped central decoration showing an artist's palette carrying the name 'David Roberts R.A.'; rebacked in 20th century, retaining spine-piece lettered 'Life Of David Roberts R.A.' and 'A. & C. Black'.

Name as Subject


Painters - Artists - Great Britain - History - 19th century
Biography - Art history - Catalogues - Great Britain - 19th century
Pictorial works - Etchings - Facsimiles - Great Britain - 19th century


David Roberts RA, source artist
Adam Black, publisher
Charles Black, publisher
Mrs. Christine Bicknell, previous owner, donor
Robert Clark, printer
Clarkson Stanfield RA, dedicatee
Sir John Watson Gordon RA, source artist
Thomas Oldham Barlow RA, engraver
Edward William Cooke RA, engraver
James Ramage, photographic printer
A & C Black, publisher