Francis Frith was born at Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England in 1822 to a Quaker family. A successful grocer, and later, printer, Frith fostered an interest in photography, becoming a founding member of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853. Frith sold his companies in 1855 in order to dedicate himself entirely to photography.
From 1856 to 1860 Frith made three photographic expeditions to Egypt and Palestine. His work appeared in books published by the London firms of James S. Virtue and William Mackenzie between 1858 and 1865, and as stereographs published by Negretti and Zambra in 1862.