David Roberts (British, Stockbridge, Scotland 1796–1864 London)
Watercolor and graphite heightened with touches of white on blue-gray paper
Sheet: 14 3/8 × 9 5/8 in. (36.5 × 24.5 cm)
Purchase, Brooke Russell Astor Bequest, 2013
Not on view
Roberts painted this moody watercolor in Seville between May and September 1833, focusing on a famous minaret built by the Moors then converted into a bell tower after Christians reclaimed the city in 1248 (its name derives from a crowning weatherwave, or giraldillo). Using watercolor over graphite on blue-gray paper, with white gouache added to heighten details and suggest light reflecting off masonry, the artist addresses his subject from the north. He emphasized the tower’s height by placing its base close to the bottom edge, filling the sheet with its vertical thrust, but avoids vertical recession by keeping the width of the façade the same size from botton to top. A range of lower buildings along the street anchor offer contrast, as tiny pedestrians accentuate the scale.
Inscription: Inscribed lower right: "The Moorish / Tower GIRALDA / David Roberts./1833"
Lawrences Auctioneers (Crewkerne, Somerset), April 3, 1986, lot 137; Spink & Son, Ltd., London; Christie's, London, 3 July 2012, lot 158; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich
Helen Guiterman, Briony Llewellyn David Roberts. Ex. cat., Barbican Art Gallery. 1986–1987, cat. no. 105-106, fig. no. pl. 38, p. 111, ill.
Christie's, London Old Master & Early British Drawings and Watercolours. Sale cat. London, July 3, 2012, lot 158.