Collection J. Burton MSS - James Burton Photographs Collection

Identity area

Reference code

J. Burton MSS


James Burton Photographs Collection


  • 1824-1834 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 package with 9 photographs and 1 small box

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

British Egyptologist and traveller. Born, London 1788. Died, Edinburgh 1862. Educated Trinity College, Cambridge. BA, 1810. MA, 1815. Worked initially for the architect Sir John Soane, 1819-22. Burton then travelled to Italy where he met Sir W. Gell, E. W. Lane, and Sir J. G. Wilkinson. In 1822 he was engaged to survey for coal as part of the Geological Survey of Egypt. He accompanied Wilkinson on his exploration of the Eastern Desert, 1824, then travelled with Lane, 1825. During his time in Egypt, he cleared parts of Karnak, Medînet Habu, and tombs in the Valley of the Kings, as well as assembling a large corpus of material comprised of drawings, plans, copies of inscriptions, and notes. He collected antiquities, which he sold via Sotheby's in 1836. He remained in Egypt until 1834, returning to England, 1835. Many of Burton's drawings and maps are among the Hay MSS.

Archival history

Not known.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Not known. Some photographs may have come with the Somers Clarke MSS. The microfilm roll was transferred from the Sackler Library Archive Room in November 2018.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

9 mounted photographs made from drawings of el-Kâb, Philae, and Amada.
Microfilm roll with copies of the Burton MSS once in the British Museum and now in the British Library.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Kept as received.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Property of the Griffith Institute. No restrictions. Consultation only.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright British Library, London.

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Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

The board on which the photographs are mounted is fragile. Must be handled with care.

Finding aids

Catalogue for Burton MSS 25618-25658 in the British Library.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Manuscript Collections, British Library, London.

Existence and location of copies

Not known.

Related units of description

Other Archives:
-Squeezes made by Burton in the Department of Egyptian Antiquities, British Museum, London.
-Burton MSS, in Manuscript Collections, British Library, London.

Griffith Institute Archive:
-Copy of a letter written by Burton to W. J. Bankes regarding Champollion's proposed work in the tomb of Sethos I (KV17), in Newberry MSS (box marked 'Sites - Thebes' (PEN/G.VII/E.B)).

Related descriptions

Publication note

Not published.

Notes area


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Physical storage

  • Shelf: 0701