Jungle scenery near Madras
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of jungle scenery near Madras, taken by Frederick Fiebig in c.1851. Madras lies on the Bay of Bengal and was founded in 1639 by the British East India Company. It was the first important English settlement in India, remaining the centre of English influence in the East until the rise of Calcutta in the late 18th century. It is situated close to sea level on the Coromandel Coast, a low-lying strip of land which stretches more than 644 km (400 miles) along the east coasts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The surrounding lowland landscape featured areas of rice cultivation and groves of palm trees. Little seems to be known about Frederick Fiebig. He was probably born in Germany and became a lithographer (and possibly was also a piano teacher) in Calcutta, publishing a number of prints in the 1840s. In the late 1840s Fiebig turned to photography using the calotype process, producing prints that were often hand-coloured. His photographs includes several hundred views of Calcutta in the early 1850s, one of the earliest detailed studies of a city, a large hand coloured collection of which were bought by the East India Company in 1856, their first major acquisition of photographs. Among the roughly 500 pictures were views of Calcutta, Madras, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Cape Town.