David Roberts was one of a number of artists who specialised in foreign views and became popular in the 1820s and the 1830s. He moved to London in 1822 and, within 8 years, had risen to become President of the Society of British Artists. Two years later he spent nearly a year in Spain and later visited Egypt, The Holy Land and Syria during 1838-1839. In 1851 and 1853 he went to Italy. Many of the highly finished and richly coloured watercolours he made on these journeys were executed to be reproduced in lavish illustrated books in the form of colour lithographs. There was a vogue in Britain at the time for such publications, especially because they provided views of exotic and faraway places to satisfy a middle-class public which could afford to buy them. Roberts made a highly successful living from the wide sales these books achieved. He was especially skilled in the refined and precise rendering of architectural detail but he also excelled in the depiction of life and character. His best work is full of the atmosphere of the country and in this lies his enduring appeal.