David Roberts (1796–1864, Scotland)

Gothic paintings

David Roberts was a Scottish landscape painter, known for a prolific series of detailed lithograph prints of Egypt and the Near East that he produced from sketches he made during long tours of the region (1838–1840). These and his large oil paintings of similar subjects made him a prominent Orientalist painter. He was elected as a Royal Academician in 1841.

I decided to sit and read opposite King’s College Chapel when I had a couple of hours spare in Cambridge yesterday evening. I was somewhat distracted by the almost continuous procession of revellers walking past; it’s currently the University’s May Week, when the colleges hold their May Balls (yes, it’s June, but you can’t contradict Cambridge), and it’s also the week of the city’s Midsummer Fair, which has been held on Midsummer Common every year since 1211…


Feeling important is a typical trait of humanity. It is easy to feel intensely affected by things such as missing the grade, being unable to find a grad job, being rejected by the potential love interest. All the while, we see nothing but others succeeding in all of these areas of life, and more.

It is therefore easy to feel jealous of others because they seem to have acquired or succeeded in certain aspects of life that we have not. But these feelings only build further, they consume us, and they can ruin our ability to live life. Yet, sometimes we can experience a moment which obliterates the significance of these things that we think matter to life.

Walking through King’s College can sometimes affect this kind of moment. In the photo above, two people are captured walking towards King’s College Chapel. It had been a day full of thoughts about the uncertain future, with the present currently flying by. It had also been a day of contemplating past moments thought wasted, moments of regret about ‘not having done ‘x’, not having being like ‘x’’. But one look towards the two people walking against the backdrop of King’s College Chapel, and these regrets turned to dust.

We are infinitesimal creatures. It is necessary to be reminded of this regularly, as it will help us to move on. We worry about the smallest things. Yes, this is because we are small, however a knowledge and awareness of that which is so much bigger than we can even begin to comprehend should be enough for us to stop, think and worry less about what it is we ‘should’ be doing … or even more so, worrying about what others are doing.

We are too small, too insignificant as a collective people to this world to feel resentful of others for their traits or achievements. Focusing on our individual selves is - naturally - a way of dealing with the sense of insignificance that comes with this realisation of a magnificent presence, but feeling cruel towards others out of jealousy will only inspire needless tension. The small piece of the world we occupy has no need for this, but instead needs to be filled with inspiration, encouragement, and strength. 

- Sarah