Born in the family of a craftsman in the outskirts of Edinburgh.
In 1815 Roberts began to work independently. In 1819, the set design the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, in 1820 in the Edinburgh theatre, 1822 — in theatre, Drury lane (London), and from 1826 in Covent garden. The first exhibition of paintings took place in 1824.
Became famous as a master of images of architectural monuments. In 1832−1833 spent eleven months in Spain and Morocco.
David Roberts was also the founder of the Society of British artists, which led in 1831.
The most fruitful was the trip of the artist in Egypt and Palestine in 1838−1839.
In 1841 David Roberts was elected to the Royal Academy.
In 1843 Roberts again visited France, Belgium and Holland, in 1851, in Northern Italy, after two years in Rome and Naples, and later again in Belgium and in Paris.
David Roberts was born on 24 Oct 1796 in a family of modest craftsman in the suburbs of Edinburgh in STOCKBRIDGE. His mother, whom he loved very much, was the first to notice the artistic ability of his son, who he drew with chalk kitchen wall, depicting them fantastic scene.
The parents could not pay for the education of David. After he finished elementary school, he was sent as an apprentice to the painter and decorator Gavin Beugo (Gavin Beugo), which Roberts received his first lessons in drawing and painting. David Roberts already have shown a remarkable ability to copy real life. One day he drew the one-pound banknote, which was difficult to distinguish from the original.
In 1815, Roberts began to work independently. Being a decorator, he painted the walls, masterfully imitating marble and wood, but quite early became interested in the work of set designer. In this capacity, David Roberts made his debut in the circus tent, where as needed, however, he still came to the arena, as uniformist. And traveling with the circus he was satisfied with his passion to change impressions.
His brilliant career David Roberts started in 1819 as a set designer the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, continued it through the year in the Edinburgh theatre, and in 1822 he came to London, where he first worked in the theatre Drury lane, 1826 in Covent garden. Very kindly received by critics (in the newspaper «the times», for example, Roberts was called a genius of extraordinary talent) the young artist also began to paint. His first exhibition took place in 1824. David Roberts was also the founder of the Society of British artists, which led in 1831.
He became famous as a master of images of architectural monuments, and in 1824 Roberts began his travels with a trip across France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, where he made many drawings, which at that time had a big demand. Photography was not yet invented, and the drawings and engravings were the only way to show the reader how to look like a distant country. In 1832−1833 the years, Roberts spent eleven months in Spain. Visiting Burgos, Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba and Granada, he crossed the Gibraltar and also visited Morocco, where he first faced the East and appreciated the Moorish architecture.
In the course of travel and a long stay in Seville, David Roberts painted a number of paintings and drawings, many of which were published in the journal «Landscape Annual," and many others — in the book «Picturesque Sketches of Spain». But most importantly, they praised Roberts as Illustrator and made possible the financing of a long-standing dream of the artist — the trip to Egypt and Palestine. This trip was prepared very carefully.
Roberts paid the trip fee received from the sale of his Spanish work and very much hoped that the future his paintings will find demand as romanticism in Europe aroused interest in exotic paintings, solving the mystery of Egyptian hieroglyphs by Jean-Francois Champollion — the civilizations of Ancient Egypt and the Holy Land and its monuments have always been attractive to Christians. Additionally, some places, for example, Peter, recently opened to Europeans by Swiss archaeologists, surrounded by the atmosphere of mystery. Moreover, the trip contributed to a favourable political situation. After the Egyptian Pasha Mehmet Ali extended their power to the Holy Land, he began a policy of modernization, which has led to greater tolerance for living here non-Muslim peoples, including Christians.
Roberts sailed their journey September 11, from Marseille, where he arrived from England, making a brief stop in Paris. September 24 through Civitavecchia and Malta, he arrived in Alexandria. Along with several other Englishmen he has three months off the ship to climb on it on the Nile, and was forced immediately to literally «flood» it to get rid of inhabiting a ship in a huge number of rats. On the ship, the rent of which, together with the team of eight sailors had cost fifteen pounds in a month, the artist went up the Nile far into Nubia, to Abu Simbel temple. Then Roberts for a long time lived in Cairo where Roberts was the first Christian granted permission to enter the mosque and even draw there. In the Egyptian capital he met the two Englishmen, John Pell and John Kinniry (John Pell & John G. Kinnear), with whom he decided to continue his journey to the Holy Land. The journey is was not very comfortable for Europeans, and lasted from 7 February to 13 may 1839, when Roberts boarded a ship returning to Alexandria, where he met with Mehmet Ali.
Roberts returned to England on 21 July 1839, bringing 272 drawing, painting, depicting a panorama of Cairo and three notebooks of sketches and travel diary, transcribed by his daughter Christine. Today, the diary is kept in the National library of Scotland. In 1841 David Roberts was elected to the Royal Academy. Exhibition of watercolours and drawings made during his travels, have caused heated praise, celebrating the perfection of technology and, as we would say today, a photographic accuracy.
On the wave of popularity and success, the critics began to sell papers, which, however, brought more benefits to the publisher of sir F. G. moon (F. G. Moon), not the artist. The moon, full of confidence that he will be able to implement well the work of Roberts, who offered him three thousand pounds for the rights to the publication of the drawings and lithographs of them, made by the Belgian artist Louis Hage (Louis Haghe). This large sum paid for only part of the cost of difficult and dangerous journey. However, the publication brought Roberts European fame. The album «Egypt, Syria and the Holy Land," published monthly by the editions of 1842 and 1849, and made Roberts the most famous artists of the Victorian era. He was received at court, have received accolades from many great artists and writers, from Turner to Dickens and Thackeray, had orders from as successful business people, and from the coronation and titled personages. Roberts continued their journey, though now they were not so long and not been outside of Europe. In 1843 he visited France, Belgium and Holland in 1851 in Northern Italy, after two years in Rome and Naples, and later again in Belgium and in Paris. When, on 24 November 1864 he died, the glory of this taciturn Scot with a steady hand, armed with a pencil, which the newspaper «the times» called «the best architectural painter, born in our country," has not diminished.
With the end of the Victorian era, it seemed that the name of David Roberts, like many artists of that time be forgotten. But today his paintings are impressive, and his drawings have retained the charm of that lost world in which the journey to the middle East was a dangerous adventure, and the temples valley of the Kings or the Temple of the Holy Sepulchre became known to the public only thanks to the art artist.