Alfred P. Maudslay

ALFRED P. MAUDSLAY (1850-1931)

Inspired by the travel accounts of Stephens and Catherwood, Alfred P. Maudslay carried out eight expeditions to the Maya area between 1881 and 1894. His more detailed work deals with six sites: Copán, Quirigua, Yaxchilán, Chichen Itza and Palenque. He photographed the monuments and their inscriptions, and made moulds with plaster and paper.  The paper and plaster moulds made during his expeditions, at great cost, were sent to England.  Maudslay donated his collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum on condition that casts would be made by his assistant Giuntini at the Museum’s expense.  The casts were made between 1886 and 1891 and were later transferred to The British Museum.  The Maudslay Collection, now in the Department of Ethnography, consists of over 400 plaster casts, paper and plaster moulds, glass negatives and journals written during his expeditions.  It also includes nine stone sculptures from Copán and eight lintels from Yaxchilán.  The results of his research, including drawings by Annie Hunter, photographs, site plans and descriptions, were published between 1889 and 1902 in the Biologia Centrali-Americana, Flora y Fauna. These publications formed the first significant corpus of Maya inscriptions and remain an invaluable tool to modern epigraphers.