Francis Frith was born in Chesterfield, England, in 1822. He trained in Sheffield as a cutler from 1838 to 1843, and later dealt in provisions. In 1851 he took up photography, which he worked with more and more professionally. Between 1856 and 1860 he travelled in Egypt and the Near East, where he made technically highly sophisticated photographs, particularly of archaeological monuments. In 1856 the firm Negretti & Zambra began to market his prints. His photos of the Nile were highly regarded, and his portraits and landscape pictures, presumed to be remote from Western influence, also appealed to the period’s tastes. In 1858 Frith set up his own firm in London, Frith & Hayward, which then moved to Ryegate in 1860. He employed more and more photographers, who produced a comprehensive inventory of British and European cities. In the 1880s his sons took over the business and Frith himself began to paint. In 1898 he died at his villa in Cannes.