The Wolfendahl Church near Colombo.
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Frederick Fiebig from an album of 70 handcoloured salt prints, of the Wolvendaal Church at Colombo in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). The capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is a major commercial centre and port on the western coast of the island. It had long been a significant port for Arab traders, frequented in medieval times by vessels from China and other Asian countries. From the 16th century, it evolved under various European powers, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. The modern metropolis and harbour were developed under British rule. Of the photographer, Frederick Fiebig, we know little apart from the fact that of German origin, he was an artist and lithographer in Calcutta, publishing a number of prints in the 1840s. He turned to photography in the late 1840s, using the calotype process and producing prints that were frequently hand-coloured. Wolvendaal Church is a massive cruciform edifice built by the Dutch in 1749 on the site of an earlier Portuguese church. It is one of Colombo's few surviving buildings from the period of Dutch rule (1656-1796). The name derives from the Dutch translation of the Portuguese 'Agoa de Loupe' meaning the 'dale of the wolves'. The hill on which the church was built took its name after the low-lying marshy swamp which was infested with jackals rather than wolves (there are no wolves in Sri Lanka).