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Light-house, [Esplanade], Madras

Light-house, [Esplanade], Madras

Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1851

Shelfmark: Photo 248/(35)

Item number: 24835

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the light-house at Madras, taken by Frederick Fiebig in c.1851. Madras lies on the Bay of Bengal and the light-house stood on the esplanade, to the north of Fort St. George near the harbour. It was designed by Captain J.E. Smith of the Madras Engineers in the form of a fluted Greek Doric column of Pallavaram granite on a laterite and brick base. It was 38.1m (125 ft) tall and its light was visible for fifteen miles. It was begun in 1838 and finished in 1843, but was later replaced by a new lighthouse which was built into the dome of the central minaret tower on the High Court. The High Court was built between 1888-92 on the site of the light-house and incorporated the column of the light-house into its south-east corner. 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.

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