Temple scenery, Madras
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of probably the Parthasarathi Temple, at Madras (Chennai), Tamil Nadu, taken by Frederick Fiebig in c.1851. The temple is one of two large temple complexes in the city and is situated in Triplicane. It dates from the 17th century and is a celebrated sanctuary dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity, Vishnu as Parthasarathi. This is a general view looking across the temple tank towards the east entrance, which takes the form of a gopura, a gateway surmounted by an elaborately carved tower. This is a characteristic structure of south Indian temple architecture. 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.