1938 - 1916
Tombs of St James and Zacharias, Valley of Jehoshaphat, Jerusalem

Graphite and watercolour on paper
Signed lower right
Image size: 12 1/4 x 8 1/2 (31 x 22 cm)
Original mount


Please scroll down for more information.

These are two of four sepulchres in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, on the east side of the Kedron.

The tomb of St James, seen on the far left, is an excavated tomb with an ornamental portal. The façade exhibits two Doric columns, fronting the west, and raised about fifteen feet above the ground in the same ledge of rock. The cavern is fifteen feet high by ten broad, and extends back about fifty feet. The monkish opinion is that it was into this cavern the Apostle James retired during the interval between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Jehoshaphat, situated on the right of the image, is a thirteen metre tall monument that was built during the first century AD. According to Jewish tradition it is believed to be the tomb of the priest Zechariah ben Jehoiada, whom the Book of Chronicles claims to have been stoned.

The other tombs are named Absalom and Zachariah.

Richard Phené Spiers

Spiers (1838 – 3 October 1916 London) was an English architect and author. He was educated in the engineering department of King’s College London, and proceeded thence to the atelier of Charles-Auguste Questel at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, for upwards of three years, a method of study rare for an architectural student in those days. On his return he won the gold medal and travelling scholarship of the Royal Academy, and in 1965 the Soane medal of the R.I.B.A.

He occupied a unique position amongst the English architects of the latter half of the 19th century, his long mastership of the architectural school at the Royal Academy of Arts having given him the opportunity of moulding and shaping the minds of more than a generation of students.

Spiers wrote most of the articles dealing with architecture for the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica. His works include new edition of James Fergusson’s History of Architecture and further volumes on Indian and Eastern art.