It’s taken nearly 100 years but the exploits of Harry Burton, the man who captured Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, is gaining recognition.
The story of unsung hero Harry Burton is to be told in an hour-long documentary to be aired tonight (Wednesday 8 March) on BBC Four. Margret Mountford (formerly of the Apprentice) travels to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings with modern day photographer Harry Cory Wright to find out how Burton pushed the boundaries of photography to produce his iconic photographs, documenting the discovery that brought the excitement of this amazing discovery to the world.
Recruited by Howard Carter to document his discovery, photographing the contents posed a real challenge as Burton battled the elements coping with the heat, dust and sand painstakingly recording the tomb and its contents. His dramatic and artistic images clearly convey the excitement and the tension of the work, with many of his iconic images becoming as famous as the Tutankhamun’s treasures themselves.
Locally, the Tutankhamun Exhibition in Dorchester has a special display featuring a selection of 31 gravure prints of Burton’s photographs of Tutankhamun’s tomb. The display includes plates used in the book of the special exhibition of Burton’s photographs held at the Oriental Institute of Chicago in 2006 and at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2007.
“Burton’s images are more than just dry records, they inspire a sense of wonderment, conveying as they do the excitement and atmosphere of Howard Carter’s discovery,” said Tim Batty, curator of the exhibition. “With no television at the time, it was these wonderful images that brought the incredible discovery to people all over the world.”
The special display of duotone prints in the exhibit concentrate on three years of Howard Carter’s work in the tomb from the break-in until the revelation of the famous golden mask of the young pharaoh. The exhibition is open seven days a week in High West Street, Dorchester.
The Man Who Shot Tutankhamun’ is scheduled to be shown on BBC Four at 9pm tonight and again at 2.35am on Thursday 9 March.