Two iron-cast faux-Egyptian Sphinxes flank the either side of Cleopatra’s Needle in the City of Westminster, London. Although the original intention of the Sphinxes would have been to appear to be guarding the needle, an installation error means they are both facing the needle instead. The right hand Sphinx is visibly damaged after an aerial bombing campaign during the First World War saw a bomb land near Cleopatra’s Needle. To commemorate the event, the shrapnel holes remain unrepaired on the Sphinx to this day.
This beautiful photograph by Manju shows one of the Sphinxes were it rests alongside the River Thames, with the iconic London Eye in the background against the backdrop of a cloudy blue sky. The lighting highlights the heiroglypics on the chest of the Sphinx, which read “netjer nefer men-kheper-re di ankh” (the good god, Thuthmosis III given life).
The Sphinxes are a later addition to the Embankment site, though Cleopatra’s needle (not named after the Egyptian Queen, but the boat it came on) was originally given to Britain in 1819 and delivered in 1878 after its transportation was funded by Sir William James Erasmus Wilson.