John Dyer was born in Llanfynydd, Caermarthenshire. After abandoning a career in law to become a painter he studied with Pope's friend Jonathan Richardson, painted portraits, and traveled in Italy. Dyer began a third career when he took orders in 1741. While his poetical works were overshadowed by those of James Thomson, Dyer once had a respectable reputation as a mid-century poet and romantic bellwether. A Whig latitudinarian, he exchanged criticism with Mark Akenside and verses with Richard Savage; Dyer seems to have been liked and admired by all who knew him.
The ruins of Rome: a poem. 1740.
The fleece: a poem in four books. 1757.
Poetical works. 1765.
Poems, ed. R. A. Wilmott. 1855.
Poems, ed. Edward Thomas. 1903.
Grongar Hill, ed. Richard C. Boys. 1941.