South Asia Photography Collection

Detail of a pattern

At A Glance

View Digital Content on SOVA
  • Creator

    Burke, John, d. 1900
  • Dates

    19th century
  • Physical Description

    8 Prints (albumen, images 24 x 29 cm. or smaller.)
  • Collection ID


  • Scope and Contents

    Taken in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, these photographs portray the people, architecture and landscape of Sri Lanka, India and what is now the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area. The collection consists of 8 photographic prints: 1. Natives of Rajputana, signed "Shepherd & Robertson Photo 1120" in black ink in the lower left corner; 2, Native Soldiers in Armour, unsigned; 3. Kandyan Chiefs and Government Agent, signed "Scowen & Co." in white ink in the lower left corner; 4. Taj Mahal, unsigned; 5. Mausoleum of the Great Akbar at the Secundra, unsigned; 6. Ali Musjid and Surroundings from Rotass, Looking Down on Fort, Showing Ascent with River, signed "Burke 28" in white ink in the lower left corner; 7. A Khyber Village, signed " Burke 32" in black ink and in white ink in the lower left corner; 8. Rifle Practice, signed "Burke 285" in black ink in the lower left corner.
  • Biographical / Historical

    John Burke (1843-1900) was an Irishman who came to India as an apothecary with the Royal Engineers. A few years later, he became the assistant of the photographer William Baker. At the start of the Second Anglo-Afghan War, Burke tried to go as an official photographer with the British Army, but his request was refused. He decided to travel with the Army at his own expense, financing his trip by selling photographs depicting the life of British soldiers and native people of India. It was in this context that Burke took some of the earliest photographs of Afghanistan.
  • Local Numbers

    FSA A1992.07
  • Photographer

    Burke, John, d. 1900
  • Creator

    Scowen & Co.
    Shepherd & Robertson
  • Place

    Kandy (Sri Lanka)
    Khyber Pass (Afghanistan and Pakistan)
    Khyber (Pakistan)
    Sikandra Rao (India)
  • Topic

    Rajput (Indic people)
    Akbar, -- Emperor of Hindustan, -- 1542-1605 -- Tomb.
    Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
  • Custodial History

    Purchased in 1992.
  • Archival Repository

    Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
  • Type

    Collection descriptions
    Archival materials
    Albumen prints
  • Citation

    South Asia Photography Collection, FSA.A1992.07. National Museum of Asian Art Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Arrangement

    Eight large file folders arranged in one box.
  • Rights

    Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
  • Genre/Form

    Albumen prints
  • Restrictions

    Collection is open for research.

Repository Contact

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
National Museum of Asian Art Archives
Washington, D.C. 20013