Having left Jerusalem on 16 April 1839, Scottish painter David Roberts arrived in Nazareth three days later. He remained in the city for just one day, before continuing to Cana and the Sea of Galilee. In his journal, Roberts noted that on that day (20 April 1839) he made ‘coloured drawings’, including ‘one of the Grotto or Chapel of the Annunciation, and two of the town.' This watercolour may be the one mentioned in his diary. A version in a private collection was probably redrawn from this work, in preparation for the lithographed version, executed by Belgian painter and lithographer Louis Haghe.
David Roberts, son of a shoemaker from Stockbridge, Edinburgh, began his career at the age of ten as an apprentice to a house painter. On completing his apprenticeship he was employed on the decoration of Scone Palace in Perthshire. He later became a scene painter for James Bannister, who ran a circus in Edinburgh, and at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, before moving to London in 1822, where he turned to easel painting. Roberts exhibited at the British Institution, Society of British Artists and Royal Academy. He is best-known for topographical paintings and illustrations resulting from trips to Spain and the Middle East. He died aged 68 at his home in Fitzroy Street, near Tottenham Court Road, London, and is buried at Norwood Cemetery.
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