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The Maidan Valley (Afghanistan). Tower on right, British officer mounted on camel, and fruit-seller. Army passing along valley on left towards Arghandi

The Maidan Valley (Afghanistan).  Tower on right, British officer mounted on camel, and fruit-seller.  Army passing along valley on left towards Arghandi

Artist: Atkinson, James (1780-1852)

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1839

Shelfmark: WD2402

Item number: 2402

Length: 25

Width: 36.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Painting

Water-colour view of the Maidan Valley in Afghanistan by James Atkinson (1780-1852) between 1839 and 1840. This is plate 16 from the album 'Sketches in Afghaunistan'. Inscribed on the mount is: 'The Valley of Maidan.'


This drawing was made during the first Anglo-Afghan war of 1839-42 when Atkinson served as the official Superintending Surgeon of the Army of the Indus, a combined force of British and Indian troops, that marched on Kabul in 1839.

Maidan is one of the five valleys around the source of the Bara river, which together comprise the Tirah region on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Atkinson wrote: "[The valley] is semi-circular, and about a mile and a half wide, and four miles long, hemmed in by the most sterile hills, with a charming silver line of river flowing through its centre, and the trees, meadow, and plantations, always appearing bright and glowing." The road through, however, was "most rough and rugged, and intersected with deep ravines, where numerous Camels belonging to the Brigade in advance had perished, and many left, exhausted, to die." The round tower, or Burj, in the picture served as a watch house across the valley.


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