Lake scenery near Kandy. 2493
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Frederick Fiebig from an album of 70 handcoloured salt prints, showing the scenery at Kandy in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Fiebig, of German origin, was active in Calcutta as an artist and lithographer in the 1840s. Little is known about his life, but turning to photography in the late 1840s he produced hundreds of photographs by the calotype process, frequently handcolouring them. His photographs of Ceylon, probably taken in 1852, are considered the earliest surviving photographic record of the island. Kandy, the cultural capital of the country, is located 72 miles inland from the present capital Colombo, in the central hill region. It is at an altitude of 500 ms or 1629 ft and the hills and the valleys of the great Mahaweli river render it picturesque. The terrain and the river acted as natural barriers and Kandy remained the last stronghold of the Sinhalese kings, evading European control for 300 years even as the coastal regions succumbed. It was the Sinhalese capital from the 15th century till the advent of British rule in 1815. Among the many pleasant features of the town is the Kiri Muhuda or White Sea, an artificial lake created in 1807 by the last Kandyan king, Vickrama Rajasinha, set in a circle of hills.