British architect, painter, drawer and illustrator Frederick Catherwood (1799-1854) studied architecture in London from 1815 to 1820, before in 1821 upon invitation of Joseph Severn he went to Rome, where he contributed to the excavation of ancient monuments.
During the following years his numerous travels took him to Sicily, Greece, Egypt and Palestine. From 1836 to 1839 Frederick Catherwood worked as an architect in New York, later, in 1839-40 and 1841-42, he joined the expeditions of lawyer and archaeologist John Lloyd Stephens to Mexico and Guatemala, which were to be honored as pioneer achievements contributing to the exploration of Maya culture.
During these expeditions Frederick Catherwood used a camera obscura to produce exact and detailed drawings, which later provided the illustrations for Stephen's scientific reports ("Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan", 1841 and "Incidents of Travel in Yucatan", 1843).
In 1844 Frederick Catherwood himself published the complex book "Views of Ancient Monuments", for which the greatest lithographers of the time reproduced a series of selected drawings, which for the first time conveyed an idea of the size and monumental nature of the sunken culture.