Mode of drawing water, Madras
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a well at Madras, taken by Frederick Fiebig in c.1851. The well shown in this view was one of a number of traditional forms of water supply and irrigation necessary in a dry region such as Tamil Nadu. Other forms included tanks and canals. A municipal water supply was later created for the city between 1868-1872. Water was piped from a reservoir called the Red Hills Lake, which was fed from another reservoir known as the Cholavaram tank, in its turn filled by a channel from the Korttalaiyar river. 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.