Pompeii, its History, Buildings and Antiquities
Thomas Henry Dyer (1804–1888) was an English historian, antiquarian and early photographer. He made several trips to Pompeii in the mid-19th century. These original albumen-silver prints were made in approximately 1865 just after Giuseppe Fiorelli had taken charge of the excavations. This was a particularly active period of discovery at Pompeii. Fiorelli was the first to realize that voids in the ash layer were spaces left by decomposed bodies. He pioneered the method of plaster (later resin) injection that resulted in the casts of human remains that have become one of the most memorable and poignant artifacts of the site.
Dyer’s photographs show the unusual combination of high resolution and low contrast that is distinctive to albumen-silver prints made from large format glass negatives. The extraordinary depth of field is attributable to the low working apertures of early lenses. Dyer also published literary works on classical themes, including Roma Regalis (1872) and A Plea for Livy (1873). However, his best known and most important works relate to his photo-documentation of early Roman sites, including Pompeii, its History, Buildings and Antiquities (1867), Ancient Athens, its History, Topography and Remains (1873) and On Imitative Art (1882).