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'The Hypaethral Temple, Philae'.

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'The Hypaethral Temple, Philae'. 1857

Not on display

This photograph shows the famous Trajan’s kiosk on the island of Philae. The artist David Roberts first called it a ‘hypaethral’ – or roofless – temple, while local Egyptians referred to it as ‘Pharaoh’s Bed’. In reality the building was once covered by a wooden roof and served as a chapel for ceremonies in honour of the goddess Isis. Frith used a large format camera to take this photograph, producing 16 by 20 inch negatives which revealed the scale of the scene in the finished print. His passenger boat and portable darkroom tent also appear in the image.

Glossary Open


A darkened room in which light-sensitive photographic materials are used for developing film and printing photographs.



  • Acc. No. PGP R 175.10
  • Medium Albumen print
  • Size 38.20 x 49.00 cm
  • Credit Gift of Mrs. Riddell in memory of Peter Fletcher Riddell, 1985