Francis Frith was the leading landscape photographer of the 19th century working with mammoth plates, and noted for the rare combination of artistic sensibility and business acumen he possessed. While running a wholesale grocery, Frith became interested in photography and opened Frith & Hayward photographic studio in Liverpool around 1850, soon devoting himself to photography entirely. In 1856, he made an extended trip to Egypt and Palestine, photographing with both stereoscopic and large format cameras, and producing the only mammoth plates of Egypt during the period. Extreme conditions of light, dust and heat—Frith’s journals recall the collidon boiling on the plate—led Frith to develop his plates in tombs and caves. While Francis Frith intended his images to document attractions such as the Great Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza, they also assert a strong sense of abstraction with attention to composition, form and texture, expertly balancing natural and constructed landforms with the delicate details of temple facades, timeworn statues, and human figures in the landscape. Frith’s photographs were hugely popular in his day, bringing exotic milieus of the East to the Victorian armchair traveler, and their success financed further travel to Jerusalem, Syria, and Lebanon. In 1859, after returning from his third trip to the Middle East, Frith founded F. Frith & Company, the first photographic publishing firm in England, and began the colossal project of photographing every town and notable site in Britain. Initially Frith took the photographs himself, but soon hired others to produce the thousands of postcards F. Frith & Company sold throughout the country until 1970.