Greene landed in Alexandra in late November / early December of 1853. Only twenty-one years old he immediately set about photographing the city's most important landmarks. Unlike many who traveled to Egypt, Greene did not aim to decipher its history but to record it. Since Napoleon's arrival in 1798 the country had seen the West remove of many of its treasures including the the obelisk from the temple of Luxor. In 1836 it found its way to the Place de la Concorde in Paris. This particular obelisk, Cleopatra's Needle, is now located in Central Park, behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Its twin resides on the Thames Embankment in London. While Greene could not prevent the wholescale removal of its treasures he was able to preserve it photographically making these images his legacy to both scholarship and the history of art.
Librairie orientale et américaine, Paris; Marie-Thérèse and André Jammes