Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Frederick Fiebig from an album of 70 handcoloured salt prints, of the lighthouse 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. This handsome neo-classical building served as Colombo's lighthouse until a beacon was added to the Chatham Street Clocktower in 1867. It was demolished with the removal of the Fort ramparts between 1869 and 1871. 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. His photographs include hundreds of views of Calcutta, and views of Madras, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Cape Town. The East India Company purchased a set of his hand-coloured views in 1856.