Harbour of Colombo [with the lighthouse visible over the rooftops].
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Frederick Fiebig from an album of 70 handcoloured salt prints, of the harbour at Colombo in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). The capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is a major commercial centre and port on the western coast of the island. It had long been a significant port for Arab traders, frequented in medieval times by vessels from the Persian Gulf, China and other Asian countries. From the 16th century, it evolved under various European powers, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. The modern metropolis and harbour were developed under British rule. The British took several measures to make Colombo's harbour into a great modern port, three breakwaters were built between 1875 and 1907, protecting an area of 2.5 square kms. This artificial harbour helped Colombo to supplant Galle as the chief commercial port of the island. Of the photographer, Frederick Fiebig, we know little apart from the fact that of German origin, he was an artist and lithographer in Calcutta, publishing a number of prints in the 1840s. He turned to photography in the late 1840s, using the calotype process and producing prints that were frequently hand-coloured.