One of the most important historical paintings of the Judeo-Christian Era, “The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under the command of Titus, AD 70”
was painted between 1847 and 1849 by the celebrated British artist, David Roberts, R.A. in London and first exhibited at the Annual Spring Exhibition of the Royal Academy of 1849. The huge (7 ft X 12 ft) oil painting created a sensation. “Fantastic…the work of a Nation…” wrote the Art Critic of the The Times of London.
The painting depicted with stunning graphic detail the dramatic dying moments of the ancient city of Jerusalem and its magnificent Temple in the climatic event of the great Jewish Revolt against might Rome in AD 66. Roberts’ graphical accuracy was attributed to his faithful adherence to definitive descriptions of the holocaust by the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, an eye-witness to the tragic occurence.
The original oil painting disappeared in 1852 but has, in the last six years, been the object of an exhaustive international search. Yet, despite such efforts, its present location of even survival remains a mystery. Nevertheless, it represents, because of the unique circumstances of its creation, among the world’s great historical paintings. The ancient occasion, so rivetingly recreated by the masterful Robers, marked the exact moment in our Judeo-Christian Era which propelld early Christianity from it Judaistic origins and saw the destruction of the priestly sacrificial cult of ancient Judiasm and the resultant development of modern Rabbinic Judaism
Through the wonders of space-age technology, this singular moment in time is once again available to those who would heed its meaning. Acknowledgment, too, is due to the dedication of two men who recognized the cultural significance of this singular event and who sought to enable others, be they Christian
, Jew, or Muslim, who share a spiritual identification with Jerusalem, to enjoy and to understand this unique spectacle.
In 1985, Robert E. Browning found a damaged original copy of a rare lithograph taken from that large oil painting in the storeroom of a relative’s antique shop in Tennessee. Stretch by its power, he acquired the picture which was large (27.5 in. x 42 in.) for its medium. It had been executed in 1850 by the premier lithographer of the time, the Belgian Louis Haghe, and was praised by the artist Roberts as being “…remarkably faithful…” to the orginial oil painting. In retrospect, had it not been for the entirely providential execution of that lithograph, history may well have been denied an almost ineffable spectacle. An incalculable loss may have been, thereby, prevented.
Growing had the injured print digitally enhanced and, in 1996, took it to Mrs. Billie Campbell of Color Advantage in Dallas who, with her staff of artists and technicians, researched and futher enhanced the image to recreate a startling faithful facsimilie of the orginal oil painting finished by Roberts in 1849. Not in nearly 150 years has the public been able to view this great panoramic work of art as it was seen and celebrated by an admiring V
ictorian London public.
Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem,by the Romans, under the Command of Titus, AD 70
by David Roberts, R.A.
27 1/2 x 42 in. (69.9 x 106cm) signed David Roberts, Louis Haghe
Colour lithographic by Louis Haghe, hand finishted, published by Hering & Remington, London.
Reproduction in orginal size produced by Robert Browning Publishing, July 1998
David Roberts painted this, his largest work (12 X 7 ft.) between August-1847-April 1849. After finishing his preliminary study he declared he was “rather pleased with myself”. He described his choice of composition his: “The View is taken from the northside of the Mount of Olives showing the Temple with its various courts to great advantage whilst rising over all is Zion crowned
with the Place of Herod site of the ancient Temple of Solomon, later the dome of the Rock and its numerous public buildings. The period of time I hake AD 71 (during the reign of Nero) is after the sacking of the other city (after a Jewish revolt against Roman rule), the breaking down of the second wall and before the Temple of Zion were injured. In the foreground I bring in The Roman Soldiers with their captives. The whole composes much better than I at first had any idea of.”
Anxious to satisfy his public, Roberts rushed the print into production. After the success of the Holy Land and Egypt lithographs by Louis Haghe, he again turned to Haghe who (accoring to Roberts) produced a unique print of his painting, “on Dictionary of National Biography claimed that Haghe’s firm “..raished lithography to the highest point it ever attained.” His publisher, Hering and Remington, 137 Regent Street, London produced a 32-page booklet with foldout plate in outline (in Buildhall and British Library) and numbered to explain the various bibical sites depicted by Roberts.
The original oil painting, while on a tour of Scotland, was damaged in a railway accident. It was sold, restored, and resold; but then it vanished. Its whereabouts are unknown even today, and it is considered lost. Of the orginal lithograph, just twenty-five hand finished full color presentation copies were pulled and signed by Haghe, the Engraver, and by Roberts, the Artist. Though a copy of the lithography is know to reside in the British Museum in London, it is just a two-tinted one; although, its extraordinary size makes it a rarity. The venerable Schuster Gallery in London has a to-tinted copy, not a presentation copy available for $5,000. In 1984, Robert E. Browning discovered on of the orginal 25 full color presentation signed copies. It was subsequently damaged a
nd because of its age (140 years) and injured condition, was thought to be beyond repair.
Mr. Browining sensed unusual current cultural and political revelance in this unique pictorialiation of an important (yet not widely exposed) event in Western Civilization history. He would not accept the loss of a rare and beautiful work of art, as threatened by its state of disrepair. Therefore, he shough to avail himself of the latest state-of-the-art restoration and enhancement technology obtainable. He clearly felt a strong compulsion to preserve, as best as possible, the inspired essence of the orginial, now lost, painting and the faithful, but frail, lithograph he possessed, for the gratification, edification of the public.
His successful efforts have caused to be produced a restoration and enhancement of the injured lithograph which is of truly vivid similitude to the orginal. No expense was spared in producing a result that surely would meet with the approval of the Artist and the Engraver; and one, too, which would bear the most scrutiny of the modern connoisseur. Through the technology of a Cruise Camera, the lithograph has been restored to the orginal size of the painting (12 ft x 7 ft) Mrs. Billie Cambel of Color Advangage, Inc. of Dallas, Texas, through her staff, has brought this wonderful work to a true restoration.
With a $150 dollar donation to our building fund you will receive a copy of “The Seige and Destruction of Jerusalem” and a signed copy of the picture of the Destruction of Jerusalem.