Frederick Catherwood

Frederick Catherwood (* February 27, 1799; † September 27, 1854 in the North Atlantic during the sinking of the Arctic ) was a British architect, painter, archaeologist and explorer. He caused a sensation with his drawings of rediscovered Mayan ruins. Together with the American John Lloyd Stephens, he laid the foundation for discovery and exploration of the high culture of the Maya.

Catherwood had studied architecture at the University of Oxford. But his true passion was painting and traveling. With visits Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Palestine, he had great travel experience, when he in 1836 the U.S. lawyer and travel writer John Lloyd Stephens met. Also, he had already made ​​a name with his drawings and paintings of old ruins. Together they read Juan Galindo's story about the ruins of Copan and decided himself to give Central America a picture and write a more detailed report.

From 1839 to 1841 Catherwood and Stephens explored virtually the entire Maya area. While Stephens was responsible for written documentation, signed and watercolor Catherwood detail freed from a thicket of jungle temples, pyramids, ball courts and steles. The two visited 44 different sites and discovered some new, including:

  • Copan
  • Quiriguá
  • Iximché
  • Q'umarkaj
  • Palenque
  • Uxmal

1841 Stephens published their findings in the book " Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan ." A second expedition led by Yucatán, resulting in Stephens 1843 book " Incidents of Travel in Yucatan " sprang. Both books were more specific to a world success, not least thanks Catherwood and atmospheric illustrations. 1844 sparked Catherwood with his own work, " Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan " enthusiasm.

Attracted by the gold rush in California to Catherwood went then to San Francisco, where he opened a shop for daily needs of the miners.

Catherwood was a passenger on the Arctic, as these collided in heavy fog on September 27, 1854 off the coast of Newfoundland, with another ship and sank hours later. He belongs to the 350 victims of the disaster.