David Roberts was the first professional British artist to travel independently to the Middle East in 1838. He was the first British artist to draw the ruins of Ancient Egypt. Like many British artists he used the familiar visual language of European landscapes to capture the unfamiliar scenery. Here the archway is used to frame the view while the local population are placed to create a sense of scale. However some have argued that by focussing on the magnificence of the monuments which tower above the contemporary population the implication at the time was that ‘the contemporary population were picturesque but degenerate, hopelessly overshadowed and unable to emulate the grandeur of their ancestors.’ Nevertheless, Roberts has left a collection of works that are a significant part of the material culture of Ottoman Palestine.