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Oil painting - Interior of Milan cathedral
  • Interior of Milan cathedral
    David Roberts, born 1796 - died 1864
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Interior of Milan cathedral

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    early 1860s (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    David Roberts, born 1796 - died 1864 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on paper laid on panel

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage


early 1860s (painted)


David Roberts, born 1796 - died 1864 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on paper laid on panel


Height: 31.4 cm estimate, Width: 52.7 cm estimate

Object history note

Purchased, 1881

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Interior of Milan Cathedral', David Roberts RA, early 1860s

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 252-53
Thsi is the full text of the catalogue entry:

"ROBERTS, David, RA (1796-1864)
Born Stockbridge, near Edinburgh, 24 October 1796, the son of a shoemaker. Apprenticed to a house painter from about 1808-15, and also worked as a theatrical scenery painter. Moved to London 1822; worked at Theatre Royal and Covent Garden. Achieved a high reputation as a painter in oils and watercolours, mainly of architectural views. Exhibited 101 works at the RA between 1826 and 1864, 32 at the BI 1825-59, and 50 at the SBA 1824-36 (elected Member 1825, President 1830). Elected ARA 1838, RA 1841. Travelled frequently and extensively; from his first visit to France 1824, he toured in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Near East. Published lithographic reproductions of his drawings, notably 'Picturesque Sketches in Spain' (1837) and 'The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia' (1842-9). Died 25 November 1864; his studio sale was at Christie's 13-20 May 1865, and that of his son-in-law Henry Bicknell 7-9 April 1881.
LIT: J Ballantine The Life of David Roberts, RA 1866; H Guiterman (et al) David Roberts; Artist Adventurer Scottish Arts Council exhibition catalogue 1981; H Guiterman and B Llewellyn David Roberts Barbican Art Gallery exhibition catalogue 1986

Interior of Milan Cathedral
79-1881 Neg Z2199
Paper on panel, 31.4 X 52.7 cm (12 3/8 X 20¾ ins)
Purchased 1881

An early version of the larger and more extensive work (oil on canvas, 127 X 104.1 cm (50 X 41 ins), signed and dated 1863), exhibited at the RA in 1863 (35) and now in the Rochdale Art Gallery.
Roberts had visited Milan on his way to Venice in September 1851; he
wrote to his son-in-law Henry Bicknell that the cathedral 'in point of the picturesque I found beyond expectation so much that I think I will get more than two or three subjects from it ... I will commence printing in oil tomorrow'. He thought the cathedral 'vile and cor[r]upt in taste - overloaded with detail but Splendid in colur ... I think I will devote a week to it' (letter 16 September 1851, private collection). Guiterman thinks the present work is almost certainly one of the studies Roberts made in the cathedral. It was dated to 1851 in the catalogue of the 1881 sale (see Prov: below).
Also related to the present work is the version of the subject dated 1857 in the Government Art Collection.

PROV: Presumably Henry Bicknell (the artist's son-in-law) and his sale Christie's 9 April 1881 (362, 'Interior of Milan Cathedral, Showhing the Bronze Pulpits', 31.8 X 52.7 cm (12½ X 20¾ ins), dated to 1851) bought Whitehead £89 5s, presumably for the museum (he also bought lot 176, a watercolour by W L Leitch, which was also acquired by the museum in 1881)

Ronald Parkinson."


Paper; Oil paint; Panel


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Cathedral; Milan (city)


Paintings; Scotland

Collection code


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