'The Great Pyramid and Head of Sphinx', 1859.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A stereoscopic photograph of the Great Pyramid and Sphinx at Giza, Egypt, taken in 1859 by Francis Frith (1822-1898). This is from a series of one hundred stereoscopic photographs taken by Frith for Negretti and Zambra and published in 1862 in a book entitled 'Egypt, Nubia and Ethiopia Illustrated'. The Great Pyramid of Cheops [c 2585-2560 BC] is the largest of three major pyramids on the plateau of Giza. In front of the pyramid is the Sphinx, a creature with a lion's body and human face, thought to be that of the pharaoh Khafre or Chephren [c2555-2532 BC]. It was carved out of a natural outcropping of rock at about the same time as the Pyramid of Khafre was built. Francis Frith was a pioneer of travel photography. He was also one of photography's greatest entrepreneurs, founding a company that was to become the largest publisher of photographs in the world. Frith saw himself as a romantic adventurer in the mould of Byron. Between 1856 and 1860 he travelled and photographed extensi