Burton Brothers ( 1866 - 1914)

Burton Brothers were active from 1866 to 1914, and were a prominent c.19th photographic studio based in Dunedin, New Zealand.

It was founded by Walter John Burton in 1866 as the Grand Photographic Saloon and Gallery on Princes Street, Dunedin, the studio later formed a partnership with Walter’s brother, Alfred Burton, in 1868. The Burton Brothers studio gained immense success, offering portraiture services in Dunedin, capturing New Zealand landscapes, ethnographic subjects like Maori portraits, and providing images as prints, postcards, and albums. To facilitate their work, the Burton Brothers were innovative, commissioning a mobile darkroom in 1869 for photography on the go. Unfortunately, their partnership ended in 1877.

Alfred Burton continued the business with new partners and retired in 1898, while Walter set up an independent studio but later committed suicide in 1880.

Alfred Burton is highly regarded as one of the leading photographers of 19th-century New Zealand. His Maori portraits and stunning images of Fiordland contributed to the region being designated as a National Park by the New Zealand Government. In the 1880s, Alfred extended his travels to the South Pacific, documenting village life in Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga. He also captured the aftermath of the 1886 Mount Tarawera eruption, revisiting locations he had previously photographed.

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