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The Sphinx, the Great Pyramid and two lesser Pyramids, Ghizeh, Egypt

Francis Bedford1862

Royal Collection Trust, UK

Royal Collection Trust, UK

Photograph showing the Sphinx, the Great Pyramid and two lesser Pyramids in Gizeh. Some local men are visible in the shade of the Sphinx and a dromedary in the middle ground. 'We then proceeded on the dromedaries (not at all an unpleasant mode of conveyance) to the celebrated Pyramids of Ghizeh - They quite exceeded my expectations, and are certainly wonderful mementoes of our forefathers. We visited the Sphinx just before sunset, which is also very curious and interesting. We had a charming little encampment just below the Pyramids where we slept for the night' (Prince of Wales's diary, 4 March 1862). In the spring of 1862, the Prince of Wales was sent on an educational journey to Palestine and the Near East. Francis Bedford had been commissioned to act as the official photographer. Bedford's task was fraught with some problems and his work was hindered by heat, rain, dust, insects and transport difficulties. On the other hand, since he was with the royal party, he was able to photograph in places not open to ordinary tourists. 210 plates were the final results. Bedford was subsequently invited to show his work to the Queen at Osborne on 18 July. 172 prints were later exhibited at the German Gallery in Bond Street, where they were acclaimed by the photographic press. They undoubtedly represented some of Bedford's best work and some were later used to illustrate books about the Near East.

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