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Collection of Photographs of Persia (Iran), 1874

Identifier: Coll-797

Scope and Contents

The photographs held in a decorated binder, include those of: Venus passing the sun over Iran, December 1874; the interior of the observatory at Isfahan (Ispahan); the astronomical station Baugh-i-Zerecht; bridge at Sende-Roud; a city gate; the Maidan of Isfahan; the Mosquee Royale, Tomb of Ali, and other mosques; views in Qum; and views in other Iranian cities.


  • Creation: 1874

Language of Materials

English, French.

Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Biographical / Historical

The photographic Souvenir de L'Expedition Allemande Envoyee a Ispahan pour Observer a Passage de Venus, 1874 once belonged to Major-General Sir Robert Murdoch Smith K.C.M.G (1835-1900).

Robert Murdoch Smith was born in Kilmarnock on 18 August 1835. He was educated at Kilmarnock Academy and studied at Glasgow University. He was a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers, 1855, and a Major-General by 1887. Smith was an executive officer with Sir Charles Newton's Archaeological Expedition in Asia Minor, 1856-1859. He explored the Cyrenaice (North Africa, ancient-Greek Libya) and made successful excavations at Cyrene (now Shahhat, Libya), 1860-1861. Smith was Director of the Government Indo-European Telegraph Department, Persian Section, and subsequently Director-in-Chief of the whole Department, 1863-1885. He was sent on special duty to Persia (Iran) by the Foreign Office in 1887. He was also Director of the Museum of Science and Art, Edinburgh (now the Royal Museum of Scotland) and a member of the Board of Trustees and Commissioners for Manufactures. Major-General Sir Robert Murdoch Smith died on 3 July 1900.


36 mounted photographs.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.

Custodial History

The collection is noted on album binding as having been presented to the Library 'with Dr. W. K. Dickson's compliments'.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Materials

The UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes Smith material: 1855-87 : correspondence and papers, 1855-1887, National Library of Scotland, Manuscript Collections NRA 29058 Smith, and correspondence with his father and copies of letters, 1851-1859, Ref. MSS 13595-96.


William Kirk Dickson was the author of The life of Major-General Sir Robert Murdoch Smith (1901). Copy held in Edinburgh University Library at shelfmark .913(39)072 Smi.Dic.
Collection of Photographs of Iran, 1874
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379