Officer's bungalow, (Guindy) Madras
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of an officer’s bungalow at Guindy, in Madras, taken by Frederick Fiebig in c.1851. Madras was founded in 1639 by the British East India Company and was the first important English settlement in India, remaining the centre of English influence in the East until the rise of Calcutta in the late 18th century. The main areas of European settlement were to the west and south; Guindy was one of the districts in southern Madras and the location of the Governor’s country residence. The building is a typical colonial bungalow with an arcaded veranda. ‘Bungalow’ is an anglicisation of the Hindu work ‘bangla’ and was applied equally to grand European residences and more modest houses, though originally referred to a lightly-constructed, single-storey dwelling with a veranda built for colonial officials. 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.