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Francis Bedford (1815-94)

The Vocal Memnon [Colossus of Memnon, Thebes] 17 Mar 1862

RCIN 2700888

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As the sole survivors of one of ancient Egypt’s largest temple complexes, the two Colossi were often regarded as romantic, melancholic figures. They inspired writers, artists and musicians who saw the statues as metaphors for the impermanence of men’s ambitions and their empires. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote Ozymandias (1818), which explores this theme. Shelley was, however, probably inspired by a statue of Ramesses II from the nearby Ramesseum complex. Acquired by the Prince of Wales, 1862