'His Highness Shere Ali Khan, Amir of Afghanistan', c 1878.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photograph by John Burke [1845-1900] of the Afghan Amir Sher Ali Khan [1825–1879], taken in about 1878 and published in the album 'The Afghan War, Attogk to Jellalabad, Gandamak and Surkhab'. Sher Ali Khan poses wearing a plain overcoat and distinctive fur hat. His cavalry sword hangs from a very decorative belt. Sher Ali Khan was Amir of Afghanistan from 1863 to 1879. Trouble with the British finally led to the Second Afghan War, 1879-1880. He was defeated by the British and was forced to flee Afghanistan, dying in exile. A pioneer of photography in India, John Burke began working in Peshawar, as an assistant to the commercial photographer William Baker. Baker took up photography on retiring from the British Army in 1861 and Burke himself had worked as an apothecary in the Royal Artillery. When Baker stopped working in 1873 Burke carried on, recording the evolution of the Indian Raj in the late nineteenth century. Burke accompanied the British army on its advance into Afghanista