The lithographs of David Roberts are based on original painting and sketches made by the artist during his visit to Egypt and the Holy Land in 1838 and 1839. The lithographs were produced by Louis Haghe in the 1840s in six volumes (Three for Egypt and three for the Holy Land). There were two editions made at that time.
The pictures of the Subscription Edition are quite rare. No one is sure how many of them were printed or exist today. It is estimated that the total Subscription Edition was limited to around 100. This was followed by a Standard Edition of which perhaps 500 were printed.
Each picture of the Subscription Edition was printed on light paper which was then glued to a heavy stock. In addition to being printed in up to four colors, each image was also hand painted. The customers were responsible for having the sheets bound into books if they chose.
The standard First Edition was printed directly onto a heavier paper stock and bound into three volumes. The images were generally printed in one or two colors (except for the Approach of the Simoom which was printed in four colors). They were not hand colored, although many owners of this edition have had their pictures colored in imitation of the Subscription Edition.