The Statues of Memnon, upright view 1857

View of two seated Colossi of Memnon located on a desert plain bordered by steep cliffs. A local man stands at the base of the monument closer to the viewer. The two colossal statues, actually depicting Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC), a king of the XVIII Dynasty, have been associated with Memnon since classical times (and are still commonly known today as the Colossi of Memnon). The association with the Homeric character lies on the fact that an earthquake, occurred in 27 BC, damaged the northern colossus, creating a sort of flaw in the stone which started producing a characteristic whistling sound each morning and which was interpreted as Memnon singing to Eos, his mother, the goddess of the dawn. The statue was repaired in the third century and the phenomenon stopped occurring.

Object Details

The Statues of Memnon, upright view 1857

Francis Frith




Albumen print

20.8 x 15.8 cm 

Acquired by King Edward VII when Prince of Wales