Not just British photographers

Looking at my blog, you might think that I only collect photographers from the British Isles. But no, I have a wide-ranging collection from countries all over the world, the Americas, Africa,the Antipodes, The East and of course all over Europe. All the images reflect the lives and times of the sitters and the decorative sensibilities of the photographers themselves. So just to prove the point, here are some international examples of photographers adverts on the cartes de visite photographs that they produced.

The actual sitters vary little between nations. Ladies are dressed in their finest outfits, sometimes to excess, with men often sporting amazing confections of facial hair, moustaches being particularly popular. We shall never know the stories behind most of the images of the sitters but the adverts, as seen below, give an insight into 19th century photography and the supply chains that helped to keep the images rolling. One example of this is the Swedish carte from the Bjorkstrom studio, the design of which also turns up on the carte of Herr Openlander of Germany. The Antonin Wildt carte is unusual in that the details of the photographer and studio are expressed in two languages. The card can be read in either German or Czech depending on which way you held the card. Backing cards often came from one or two sources. In Britain, many cards were supplied by the French firm of ‘Marion’ from its establishment in England.

This is just a small selection of the cartes in the collection. Look through the ‘Worldwide’ section for more information on the pioneering woman photographer, Mathilda Ranch, and a Japanese studio whose owner R. Makuri was photographer to the Imperial court of Japan, among others. More details will be added as time moves on, shedding more light on this fascinating and universal subject.


Published by qvictoria

A collector of Victorian photographs for many a long year. I'm interested in both the individual photographs and the studio advertising on the 'backs' of the images, Victorian graphic design at its most varied and interesting. My collection of "cartes de visite" photographs is housed in plastic pockets within a series of albums, numerically arranged in order as they are acquired. There are now roughly 3000 photographers and images in all. I use directories, newspapers and genealogical information to research the life and work of each photographer and their studio but there aren't enough hours in the day. This photo is one of my collection, chosen for the gentle expression in the face of the sitter.

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