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The Great Pyramid and Sphinx of Giza
Swann Galleries - New York
Auction, October 25, 2016, #2426, Lot 2
(Steven Evans / Alan Griffiths, 9 July 2020) When this ambrotype was posted for a 2016 auction at Swann Galleries in New York Steven Evans thought that it couldn't be correct. There are few ambrotypes, if any, known from the Middle East and the style reminded him of other albumen prints of the Sphinx. By doing a horizontal reversal and searching online he found a signed print by J. Pascal Sebah that was a direct match. This would indicate that the ambrotype was a far later copy. When this was pointed out to the auction house the lot was removed from sale. Whether the photograph was created to perpetrate a fraud, or it entered the auction market in error, is at present unclear. Further information is requested.
Auction lot description (2016)
An extremely rare and very early image of the Sphinx and Great Pyramid. The foreground of the image shows that the perimeter of the monument is partially dug out--by 1860 sandstorms had obliterated the excavation. An aesthetic tableaux, there are human figures in the lower left of the image area and others, in tunics and headcloths, posing at right, below the head, which give a sense of the Sphinx's extraordinarily large scale. It is believed the ambrotype was originally uncased and later housed in a Union case.