A colossal sculpted head of King Ramses II or Ramses the Great, fallen down among the ruins of his mortuary temple, known as the Ramesseum at Gurna (modern day west bank Luxor). A king of the 19th dynasty of Egypt, his reign (1279-13 BC) was the second longest in Egyptian history and one of the most prosperous. Among his myriad building projects were the completion of the hypostyle hall at Karnak, and the construction of the Ramesseum, his funerary temple, also known as the Tomb of Ozymandias. This gigantic head was the inspiration for the poem "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822).
In this small daguerreotype the photographer focuses quite literally on the head itself, which remains sharp against a soft background. The two small stones holding it balanced upright seem to accentuate the fragility of the dismembered head. A comparison with later photographs shows how much restoration of the head occurred after this date.
This is the only photograph of this subject in the photographer's archive.