[Portait of Sir Alexander Burnes]Costume of Bokhara
London: Published by John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1835
Stipple engraving on india, sheet 185 x 130mm (7¼ x 5"). Trimmed inside platemark; slight foxing.
Sir Alexander Burnes (1805-41), political officer and explorer, in Uzbek costume (Bukhara is a city and province in Uzbekistan). Burnes joined the Bombay army in 1821, aged sixteen, and his linguistic skills, confidence and guile led to his involvement in delicate political tasks. After successfully surveying the territory surrounding the River Indus, Burnes was sent to Bukhara and beyond to gather information about central Asia at a time when political opinion in London and Calcutta was concerned about Russian expansion in the region. Burnes and his party always travelled in local dress (as shown here), and after setting out in January 1832, the mission from Bombay to Bukhara and back via Mashhad and Tehran took thirteen months. Burnes' mission captured the public's imagination- he was welcomed back to England as a hero and was highly decorated. In 1834 he published an account of his journey, which sold 900 copies on its first day. On his return to Asia, Burnes was dispatched to Kabul, but as the political unrest surrounding Shah Shuja's government increased, a crowd besieged Burnes' house in 1841 and murdered him. An account of Burnes' time in Kabul was published posthumously. Engraved after a portrait by Daniel Maclise (private collection).
[Ref: 35268] £95.00