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Isabel (née Arundel), Lady Burton (1831-1896), Traveller and explorer; wife of Sir Richard Burton

Sitter in 1 portrait
Her husband, the explorer and diplomat Sir Richard Burton, was the focus of Isabel's life. They met in 1851, marrying ten years later, despite her parents' disapproval. She helped engineer his posting as British Consul to Damascus in 1869 and accompanied him. Enjoying wild rides in the desert, she adored Syria. A posting to Trieste followed, again at her instigation. It was less prestigious, but they worked together on his translation of A Thousand and One Nights. On Richard's death in 1890 she dedicated herself to his memory, burning his more erotic writings and defending his good name, under attack for translating the Kama Sutra. She was buried beside him at Mortlake Cemetery, London, under a marble tent.

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Isabel (née Arundel), Lady Burton

by Unknown photographer
hand-coloured albumen carte-de-visite, circa 1869
NPG x76470