Beating indigo by hand, Allahabad, India, 1877.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Workers standing in vats of indigo dye, watched by a bearded white overseer. They are beating the indigo with tools which they move about in the liquid. This proces was also carried out by machine in some factories. One of a series of 20 photographs depicting the planting and manufacturing of indigo in India by French photographer Oscar Mallitte (c 1829-1905). Mallitte taught photography at the School of Industrial Arts in Calcutta, and in 1859 he accompanied the Vice-Roy, Lord Canning, as photographer on a tour of the North-West provinces. A series of his views of indigo planting and manufacturing was sold at Sotheby's in 1980.