'Two Colossal Statues of Memnon - Thebes', 1859.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A stereoscopic photograph of two giant seated statues at Thebes, Egypt, taken in 1859 by Francis Frith (1822-1898). This image 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'. These giant statues were placed at the outer gates of the temple built at Thebes during the reign of the pharaoh Amenhotep III (1382-1344 BC). 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 extensively in Egypt and the Holy Land. His work was published in a variety of formats and editions and established his reputation as one of the finest travel photographers. But the venture that brought him great wealth and made hi