The Pyramids of Sakkarah

Francis Frith (English, 1822–1898)


Image: 38.1 x 49.2 cm (15 x 19 3/8 in.) Mount: 56.2 x 76.8 cm (22 1/8 x 30 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Photograph, albumen print from wet-collodion-on-glass negative

Not On View


Europe, Photography



Francis Frith undertook three photographic expeditions to Egypt and Palestine between 1856 and 1860, with the aim of creating a stock of images to be used for book illustration and stereo views. In 1859, he founded one of the most successful photographic printing works of the nineteenth century. The visual records he brought back from his travels were of such technical excellence that they not only documented the ancient civilizations but also evoked their power and majesty. In his large view of the great necropolis at Sakkarah, a small pillaged pyramid serves as a dark sentinel for the structure crowning the horizon, the fabulous step pyramid of the pharaoh Zoser, considered the most ancient building in the world.


On mount, below ctr, in letterpress: The Pyramids of Sakkarah, From the North East
On mount, below r., in letterpress: Frith 1857
Scratched in neg, l.r.: Frith 1858


Bloomsbury Book Auctions, London; Robert Hershkowitz, Sussex, England; purchased by MFA, Dec. 18, 2002

Credit Line

William E. Nickerson Fund