William James Müller (1812-1845) was the son of a Prussian émigré from the Napoleonic Wars and his Bristol-born wife. At the age of fifteen he became apprenticed to J.B. Pyne, a follower of Turner. Like his contemporary David Roberts, he was a keen traveller and one of the first artists to accurately depict the monuments of the Near East.
Müller visited Luxor in Egypt in 1839, describing it as:
a grand subject; its temple and obelisk in its solitary loneness [thanks to the French who had removed the companion to the obelisk to the Place de la Concorde in Paris], the gigantic mutilated sphinxes on each side of the entrance, forms a number of objects in which the artist finds full occupation.
The colonnade seen here is from the temple erected by the Egyptian king Amenhotep III in the fourteenth century BC. In Müller's time the site was inhabited as a village and sand had covered half its original height.