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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890), Explorer and writer

Traveller, explorer, translator and junior diplomat; born 19 March 1821, in Torquay, Devon. Served in Indian Army from 1842, studying languages and cultures; with support from Royal Geographical Society travelled to Mecca 1853, disguised as a Muslim pilgrim; explored Somali peninsula 1854–5, where he suffered severe facial wound; joined General Beatson’s irregular cavalry in the Crimean War 1855; travelled with John Hanning Speke on explorations in East Africa 1857–8; other trips to Canada, Utah and Panama; following marriage to Isabel Arundel 1861 obtained consular postings in West Africa, Brazil, Damascus and Trieste; published regularly on travels and interests, including swordsmanship and anthropology; in his last decade translated classic erotic works, including the Kama Sutra (1883), the Thousand and One Nights (1885–8), ‘the keystone of his literary reputation’[1] and The Perfumed Garden (1886); created KCMG 1886; died in Trieste on 20 October 1890, and buried in Mortlake, Surrey.

He is a very dark man, with a fierce and scowling eye, & a repulsive hard face; but exceedingly clever & amusing in conversation.[2]

Dr Jan Marsh

Footnotesback to top

1) Thompson 2004.
2) Viscount Amberley Diary 1865; quoted Lovell 1998, p.460.

Referencesback to top

Barringer & Prettejohn 1999
Barringer, T.J., and E. Prettejohn, eds, Frederic Leighton: Antiquity, Renaissance, Modernity, London, 1999.

Brodie 1967
Brodie, F.M., The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Francis Burton, London, 1967.

Burton 1875
Burton, I., The Inner Life of Syria, Palestine and the Holy Land, 2 vols, London, 1875.

Burton 1893
Burton, I., The Life of Captain Sir Richard F. Burton KCMG, FRGS, 2 vols, London, 1893.

Burton 1855
Burton, R.F., A Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah, 3 vols, London, 1855.

Burton 1863
Burton, R.F., Abeokuta and the Camaroons Mountains, 2 vols, London, 1863.

Burton 1865
Burton, R.F., The Guide Book: A Pictorial Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medinah, London, 1865.

Burton 1884
Burton, R.F., The Book of the Sword, London, 1884.

Burton 1898
Burton, R.F., The Jew, the Gypsy and El Islam, ed. W.H. Wilkins, London, 1898.

Burton 1901
Burton, R.F., Wanderings on Three Continents, ed. W.H. Wilkins, London, 1901.

Conner 1983
Conner, P., ed., The Inspiration of Egypt: Its Influence on British Artists, Travellers, and Designers, 1700–1900, exh. cat., Brighton Museum and Art Gallery and Manchester City Art Gallery: Brighton, 1983.

Cooper 1876–83
Cooper, T., Men of Mark: A Gallery of Contemporary Portraits of Men Distinguished in the Senate, the Church, in Science, Literature and Art, the Army, Navy, Law, Medicine, etc. Photographed from life by Lock and Whitfield, London, 7 ser., 1876–83.

Dearden 1936
Dearden, S., The Arabian Knight: A Study of Sir Richard Burton, London, 1936.

Desmond 1994–7
Desmond, A., Huxley, vol.1. The Devil’s Disciple, vol.2. Evolution’s High Priest, London, 1994–7.

Dodge 1907
Dodge, W.P., The Real Sir Richard Burton, London, 1907.

Foister et al. 1988
Foister, S., R. Gibson, M. Rogers and J. Simon, The National Portrait Gallery Collection, London, 1988.

Godsall 2008
Godsall, J.R., A Life of Sir Richard Burton, London, 2008.

Hastings 1978
Hastings, M., Sir Richard Burton: A Biography, London, 1978.

Horne 2001
Horne, A., Telling Lives, London, 2001.

Jeal et al. 1996
Jeal, T., and others, David Livingstone and the Victorian Encounter with Africa, exh. cat., NPG, London, 1996.

Jeal 2011
Jeal, T., Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure, London, 2011.

Jones et al. 1996
Jones, S., and others, Frederic Leighton 1830–1896, exh. cat., Royal Academy, London, 1996.

Lovell 1998
Lovell, M.S., A Rage to Live: A Biography of Richard and Isabel Burton, London, 1998.

Minneapolis 1978
Victorian High Renaissance: G.F. Watts, Lord Leighton, Albert Moore, Sir Alfred Gilbert, exh. cat., Manchester City Art Gallery, Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Brooklyn Museum, New York, 1978.

Muther 1895–6
Muther, R., History of Modern Painting, 3 vols, London, 1895–6 [rev. ed, 4 vols, 1907].

Noakes et al. 1985
Noakes, V., and others, Edward Lear 1812–1888, exh. cat., Royal Academy, London, 1985.

Orleans House 2002
Highlights of the Richmond Borough Art Collection,, Twickenham, 2002.

Ormond & Ormond 1975
Ormond, L., and R. Ormond, Lord Leighton, London, 1975.

Reeve & Walford 1863–7
Reeve, L., and E. Walford, eds, Portraits of Men of Eminence in literature, science and art, with biographical memoirs. The photographs from life, by E. Edwards, 6 vols, London, 1863–7.

Rhys 1898
Rhys, E., Frederic Lord Leighton, rev. ed., London, 1898.

Rogers 1989
Rogers, M., Camera Portraits, exh. cat., NPG, London, 1989.

Schonfield 1936
Schonfield, H.J., Richard Burton, Explorer, London, 1936.

Seddon 1858
Seddon, J.P., Memoir and Letters of the Late Thomas Seddon, London, 1858.

Staley 1993
Staley, A., The Pre-Raphaelite Landscape, Oxford, 1973.

Staley 1906
Staley, E., Lord Leighton of Stretton PRA, London, 1906.

Stisted 1896
Stisted, G., The True Life of Captain Sir Richard Burton, London, 1896.

Thompson 2004
Thompson, J., ‘Burton, Sir Richard Francis (1821–1890)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed., May 2009.

Weinthal 1923
Weinthal, L., The Story of the Cape to Cairo Railway and River Route, from 1887 to 1922, 5 vols, London, 1923.

Wright 1906
Wright, T., The Life of Sir Richard Burton, 2 vols, London, 1906.