Romantic Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (1830)

Samuel Colman painted A Romantic Landscape with the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba about 1830 and it now hangs at Bristol’s art gallery. It shows the Sheban Queen arriving in Jerusalem with a large entourage and lavish gifts for King Solomon. She can just be observed being carried on a throne through the arch in the distance but, curiously, the king himself is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps Colman understood that the Arab queen was really seeking and finding Christ rather than Solomon. He who cannot be seen is a far greater prize than he who could- and who sadly fell from grace.

Interestingly, the ghost-like appearance of the Queen’s attendants (below) is due to the thin paint becoming more transparent with age, rather than any artistic design. And so the treasures and people of this world; though fine and beautiful in their day, they soon age and disappear.