enter image description here

There is also a colour version here.

This is, allegedly, a photograph from a building some think to be the Tomb of Joseph, a patriarch of Israel.

The Wikipedia website, where the photo is hosted, says it is a photograph from 1868, of unknown author. The source of this claim however is another website which page is not longer available (and it looks quite dubious anyway).

If you zoom out, it kind of looks like a photography (specially the tall structure at the right), but on a close up, it looks like a drawing. In particular, the white structures at the middle resemble paiting. Can you provide some clues on the image?


This is probably a photograph, or a scan of a copy of a copy of a photograph, at least. There's nothing particularly that jumps out as not being consistent with that. And, on the other hand, an almost-abstract graphic composition like this would have been quite out of time for a painting or drawing in the mid 19th century. Compare this painting made a few years earlier:

Tomb of Joseph at Shechem by David Roberts

You can see the same boulder and cylindrical structures, but with a very different representation. (Quick Internet research indicates the cylinders are plastered pillars with indentations for burnt offerings at the top.) I would expect other contemporaneous artistic renderings to be more in this style, rather than like your example.


Colored version is tinted lithograph made by David Roberts, Scottish painter 1796 – 1864. Traveled to Egypt, became a full-time artist 1838. Art and objects from Egypt sold well in England. Mr. Roberts toured the great monuments and made drawing and watercolor sketches. Many were converted to lithographs and printed on printing presses. This one is tinted two colors.

  • Hi Alan! Do you have a citation for this?
    – mattdm
    May 14 '18 at 16:23
  • 1
    I think the lithograph is this, right? That's very different!
    – mattdm
    May 14 '18 at 16:30

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