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Monument [to Lord Cornwallis] in Fort St George, Madras

Monument [to Lord Cornwallis] in Fort St George, Madras

Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1851

Shelfmark: Photo 248/(33)

Item number: 24833

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the monument to Lord Cornwallis in Fort St George, at Madras, taken by Frederick Fiebig in c.1851. Charles, Earl Cornwallis (1738-1805) was the third Governor-General of India and held office between 1786 and 1793. He reformed the administration of the British East India Company and carried out important revenue, land, and legal reforms. The statue was erected in 1800 and is by that of Thomas Banks. This view shows the statue in its original location, beneath an Ionic rotunda erected in 1799 in Fort Square. It now stands in the fort’s museum. Construction of the fort on the seafront was begun in 1640 by the British East India Company and in 1641 it became the Company’s headquarters on the Coromadel Coast. During the 17th and 18th centuries it was considerably enlarged and a number of historic buildings were erected within its confines, including Government House. 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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