Richard Francis Burton was born on 19 March 1821, the eldest son of Captain Joseph Netterville Burton and his wife, Martha. He had a peripatetic childhood living on the continent as well as in England. His father wished for him to become a clergyman and therefore Burton was sent to Oxford in 1840 but managed to get himself 'rusticated' by attending a steeplechase against University rules.
Burton joined the Bombay Infantry of the East India Company in 1842. This was the start of his explorations and detailed recording of all that he saw. Burton was a very able linguist passing out top in the Company examinations but he was also interested in geography and ethnography including dialects and customs
Burton, as part of the Survey Company, made detailed topographical, ethnographic and linguistic notes resulting in the publication of his History of Sindh.
His life was full of travel and writing including travelling to Mecca and Medina in 1852, disguised as a Muslim, and an expedition to attempt to find the source of the Nile under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society of which he was a member.
He visited North America in 1860 before marrying Isabel in 1861. Burton went to Bioko (Fernando Po), West Africa to take up the position of Consul. In 1865 he was appointed British Consul in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Isabel accompanied him, and then subsequently in Damascus.
In 1872, they moved to Trieste to work in the Consulate and from here he explored the mines at Midian. In 1886 he was made a Knight of the Order of St Michael and St George. He died on 20 October 1890.
Burton was a prolific writer and his travels provided him with material for many books. He was also a keen translator including translating The Arabian Nights stories and the poems of the Portugese poet, Cameons.
Isabel Burton was born on 20 March 1831 in London. Her father was Henry Raymond Arundell and Isabel (christened Isabella) was the first child of his second marriage to Eliza Gerard. They were a devout Catholic family which was one of the reasons why her parents did not wish her to marry Richard, alongside his lack of money and reputation. However she prevailed and they were married in 1861, after which she often travelled with her husband. She also wrote and published material including a biography of Burton after his death. She died in London in 1896 and both she and Richard are buried in a tomb shaped as a Tent at St Mary Magdalen Church, Mortlake, London
Oscar Eckenstein was born on 9 September 1859 and became a renown climber and mountaineer, being a pioneer in the sport of bouldering. He invented the Eckenstein crampon and was the leader of the first serious attempt on K2 in 1902.
It is not known why Eckenstein developed his interest in Richard Burton but he collected avidly. Eckenstein married Margery Edwards in 1918 and they lived in Oving, West Sussex. He died of TB in 1921.