John Kirk

Drawing of naturalist John Kirk

'Dr Kirk, of Edinburgh, the naturalist who accompanies Dr Livingstone'.
From 'The Illustrated News of the World', 27 February 1858.


Dr John Kirk (1832-1922) was a keen botanist and naturalist, and a valued member of David Livingstone's Zambesi expedition of 1858-1863.

Kirk's photographs were perhaps his greatest contribution to the African expedition, and resulted from his role as the expedition's unofficial photographer.

Photo of Livingstone expedition launch on the Zambesi
Livingstone's expedition launch, 'Ma Robert',
photographed by John Kirk on the Zambesi river.
More John Kirk photos

Kirk also contributed his talents as a sketch artist, which were limited, but nonetheless useful. His watercolour sketches of landscapes, native huts and Africans provided an invaluable record of the previously unexplored continent.


Some of Kirk's watercolour sketches and photos were on display in the 'Picturing Africa' exhibition, which ran from 14 June to 3 November 2013.


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