Thursday, March 5, 2020


You are afraid of me, because I talk like a sphinx.
~Charlotte Brontë

On a recent visit to Hillwood in D.C., I was taken with the sphinxes. Hillwood has two terracotta sphinxes that were made in the 1700s: one representing Marie Antoinette, the other Marie Therese, Princess de Lamballe.

A sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and body of a lion. They are guardians, and may be benevolent or not. In Greek tradition, they ask riddles...and you'd better get the answer right!

Sphinx at Hillwood
photo by Maia C

Sphinx statue on the Red Bridge, Aschaffenburg, Germany
photo by Maulaff

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
photo by Daniel H. Tong

Sphinx de la fontaine du Palmier, place du Châtelet, Paris
carved by Henri-Alfred Jacquemart

Sphinx, Chiswick House, London
photo by Orangeaurochs

by Odilon Redon, 1889

Illustration from the book Gargantua
Gustave Doré

1 comment:

Pop said...

Cool subject today, Tabatha. I've always found the sphinx to be one of the most peculiar creatures people have "invented."

When I was looking over the images, two things popped into my mind:

1) What kind of riddle would Marie Antoinette ask?

2) It was very interesting that someone created a sphinx fountain. (Now say sphinx fountain three times fast.)