Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Madras (Chennai), in Tamil Nadu, taken by an unknown photographer during the 1880s, from an album of 62 views of India and Ceylon. This is a view from the lighthouse on the esplanade looking northwards over the rooftops of the city. Madras lies on the Bay of Bengal in the north-east corner of Tamil Nadu. It was founded in 1639 by the British East India Company and was the first important English settlement in India. The city expanded around Fort St. George, constructed on the seafront in the early 1640s as a trading post and base for European residents. By 1690 it contained a population of over 300,000 and remained the centre of English influence in the East until the rise of Calcutta in the late 18th century. It was laid out on a grid plan, the earliest example of English town planning on a large scale in India, and by the late 19th century had developed a legacy of grand colonial architecture, such as the buildings in the foreground of this view.