The Berger Collection

David Roberts, RA (1796-1864)
St. Peter's, Looking Back on Rome, 1853
Oil on canvas
Signed, dated, and inscribed by the artist at lower right, Presented to Mrs. Joseph Arden. A Souvenir / of her Visit to Rome. 1853 by David Roberts, RA
12 1/4 x 30 in. (31.2 x 76.2 cm)

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Born near Edinburgh, David Roberts came to be known as the “Scottish Canaletto” after the eighteenth-century Italian landscape artist Antonio Canaletto. For over two decades Roberts traveled through Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East making paintings and watercolors of architectural and topographical subjects. He painted this picture on his first visit to Rome, in 1853, the final stop of his travels before returning to London the following year. For over a century such works had been enormously popular among British collectors as mementos of their Italian sojourns. In an inscription by Roberts he records that the work was a gift to the wife of his friend Joseph Arden, “…A Souvenir / of her Visit to Rome.”


Mrs. Joseph Arden; Christie's, London, April 26, 1879, lot 39; Mr. Birch; Miss N. D. Stephenson; Christie's, December 16, 1949, lot 43; with Spink, London; Guy Meek; by descent; private collection; Christie's, London, November 8, 1996, lot 91


Literary Gazette , May 17, 1856, p. 283; Art Journal, 1856, p. 169; Art Journal, 1857, p. 310; James Ballantine, The Life of David Roberts, R.A., 1866, p. 183, no. 201

Exhibited: Royal Academy, London, 1856, no. 337

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