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“Blind Beggar, Jerusalem” James Clark,1886 (Charcoal on paper).The PEF’s picture collection includes pen and charcoal sketches, watercolours, and oils. There are four principle artists: Elizabeth Ann Finn, William ‘Crimea’ Simpson, Lieut. Claude Conder, and James Clark.

Elizabeth Ann Finn’s paintings and sketches reflect Palestine as experienced by a Victorian lady of significant influence both in the PEF and the wider world. Mrs Finn was a leading philanthropist who invested heavily in welfare concerns in Palestine. She was also a patron of artists and photographers working in the Holy Land, including Holman Hunt and James Graham. She was involved with the PEF from 1865 until her death in 1921.

Above: “Blind Beggar, Jerusalem” James Clark, 1886 (Charcoal on paper, PEF-PI-76)

“Fallen Voussoirs of Robinson’s Arch. Jerusalem.” W. Simpson, 1869 (Watercolor, pencil on paper) William ‘Crimea’ Simpson was employed as an artist by the Illustrated London News, reporting on events from around the world. He covered Charles Warren’s subterranean explorations in Jerusalem in the late 1860s.  His drawings were published in the Illustrated London News. From these, he produced watercolours purchased primarily on behalf of the PEF by two collectors: Lord Bute, and William Morrison. The PEF’s collection represents a magnificent illustration of one of the most important explorations undertaken by the PEF. After his work in Jerusalem, Simpson remained closely involved in the work of the PEF, serving on its Committee for fifteen years.

Right: “Fallen Voussoirs of Robinson’s Arch. Jerusalem” W. Simpson, 1869 (Watercolor, pencil on paper, PEF-PI-16).


Whilst leading the Survey of Western Palestine in the 1870s, Lieut. Claude Conder produced numerous watercolours primarily of landscapes and individuals. They bring vivid colour to a place and time captured increasingly in black and white through the lens of the camera.  


“Athlit or Castle Pilgrim” Claude Conder, undated.(Watercolour, pencil on paper)
Above: “Athlit or Castle Pilgrim” Claude Conder, undated (Watercolour, pencil on paper. PEF-PI-106)
“Valley of Kedron, Absalom’s Tomb - Village of Siloam.” James Clark, February 1887 (Watercolour on paper)James Clark was a professional artist who made his living painting portraits. His real passion was the Holy Land. He was commissioned by the Scripture Gift Mission to produce illustrations for their Bibles. In the 1920s he was persuaded by the successful painter and PEF Committee member Henry Harper to donate some of his evocative paintings to the PEF.
Left: “Valley of Kedron, Absalom’s Tomb - Village of Siloam.” James Clark, February 1887 (Watercolour on paper, PEF-PI-144)

There are several other paintings and studies by various artists, including Richard Phene Speres and Henry Harper. 


Prints of a wide range of our pictures can be purchased directly from the PEF, or via the Bridgeman Art Library.

Palestine Exploration Fund, 5-6 Dreadnought Walk, Greenwich, London SE10 9FP.
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