Indigo boilers and fecula table, Allahabad, India, 1877.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Interior of an indigo factory showing the preses, (left), and the fecula table. Fecula is sediment produced after soaking the indigo plants. 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 was part of Dr Mouat's official expedition to the Andaman Islands. He made an invaluable photographic record of the life and customs of the native islanders, a collection which sadly has since been lost. 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.