Alfred Percival Maudslay (1850-1931), a British colonial diplomat, explorer and archaeologist, was one of the first modern archeologists to study the Mayan civilization. Maudslay used a variety of techniques to record his archaeological finds. He took photographs to record the sites he visited, and made good use of the new ‘dry plate’ photography process, which involved fewer chemical processes for the photographer to undertake at the point of capture, and was therefore easier to use whilst on expeditions.
In 1892, Alfred Maudslay married Anne Cary Morris, and for their honeymoon they traveled together to Guatemala. The couple jointly wrote a delightful account of their trip, titled ‘A Glimpse at Guatemala’, which was published in 1899. It was to be a small book with a few illustrations, and was of intended to be published within six months of returning home. However, "when we did get back to England…a fair start was made, and some experimental illustrations were prepared; but each of us discovered in the other a deeply-rooted objection to process-blocks and shiny paper, so we began to dabble in photogravure and typo-etching…" The Maudslays’ decision to splurge on hand-made paper, photogravures, and a plethora of elegant images resulted in a most unusual book, with important, well-written commentary complemented by lavish iconography. Photogravure prints are used here in a manner that captures the dramatic quality of the astounding remains of a vanished civilization. Most of the 44 sepia tone photogravures are by Swann Electric Engraving Company.