A Rare Photograph of the Old Lighthouse at Galle Fort

Ismeth Raheem ++

Presented here is the stone and concrete lighthouse constructed around 1851-52 at the south-western corner of Galle Fort ………. replacing the cast-iron structure that was specially fabricated in England and shipped to Ceylon. That cast-iron lighting ‘unit’ was burnt down by accident in 1849-50.

The rare image was recently made available to Thuppahi by Bunchy Rahuman — an old Aloysian mate of Michael Roberts and one time resident in the fort.

The image is one of the earliest datable calotype photographs the world has seen. Calotype photographs are partly hand-coloured. Calotype was concurrently invented not soon after the Daguerreotype.

The photographer was Fred Fiebig who operated from Calcutta. He sold hundred or more views of the urban centres of Colombo, Galle and Kandy [in Ceylon], Madras [in India], Mauritius and Capetown to the British India Company. Fiebig visited British Ceylon around 1852-53.

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Frederick Fiebig in Wikipedia …. 

Frederick Fiebig was a photographer best known for his photographs of IndiaSri LankaMauritius, and South Africa taken in the 1850s.[1]


  • John Hannavy, Encyclopedia of nineteenth-century photography, New York : Routledge, 2008.


  1. Jump up to:a b Library, British. “Palace of the Nawaub of the Carnatic, Madras”bl.uk/. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  2. ^ Library, British. “Fiebig Collection: Views of Calcutta and surrounding districts”bl.uk/. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  3. ^ Raman, A (21 March 2011). “Frederick Fiebig and Madras photos”The New Indian Express. Retrieved 24 August 2014.

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++ This is a hurried note sent by my comrade-in-arms, Ismeth Raheem in Colombo. As usual, Ismeth is busy and overloaded. 

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