Photographers Index

Burton Brothers

Active Dates: circa 1868 - circa 1898
Active Area: Oceania (continent)
New Zealand (nation)
South Island (island)
Abeokuta (inhabited place)
Otago (region)
Dunedin (inhabited place)
Likenesses: None
Photographs: See list of photographs
Publications: Burton Brothers (1884), 'The Camera in the Coral Islands'.
Burton Brothers (1884), 'New Zealand through the Camera'.
Burton Brothers (1886), 'The Maori at home
a catalogue of a series of photographs illustrative of the scenery and of native life in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand', Dunedin: Burton Bros.
Burton Brothers (1889), 'Wintering on Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri'.
Related Entries: None found.
Alfred Henry Burton was born in England in 1834. In circa 1868 he joined his brother Walter Burton in Dunedin, New Zealand, where Walter had established a photographic business (Turner 1996, p.282). Walter advertised as being 'of the firm of John Burton and Sons, of Leicester, Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham, and Burton-upon-Trent, England, Artist and Photographer' in Mackay's Almanac for 1867 (Knight 1971, p.46). Trading under the name 'Burton Brothers', Alfred and Walter remained in business together until 1876, when their partnership was dissolved (Turner 1996, p.282). Initially the company seems to have been primarily involved in selling fancy goods, engraving and hiring out masonic regalia. They later became successful publishers of photographic views, employing photographers to take topographical views and photographs of special events and expeditions (Knight 1971, p.47). Walter died in 1880. However, Alfred continued to trade under the name 'Burton Bros' until 1898, apparently appointing Thomas M.B. Muir to take over the portrait work ( Knight 1971, p.51). In 1898 Alfred sold his remaining interests to Muir and Moodie. Alfred was most famous for his trip up the Wanganui River in April and May 1885. His photographs from this trip form one of the most important records of Maori life. He spent his last years teaching elocution at Knox College. Alfred died in 1914 (Turner 1996, p.282; Knight 1971, pp.46-52).
Sources: Turner, Jane ed. (1996), 'The dictionary of art'. Volume 5. New York: Grove.
Knight, Hardwicke (1971), 'Photography in New Zealand. A social and technical history'. Dunedin: John McIndoe.

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