Here are some recent finds for the collection. The next step will be to ascribe dates to each example and hopefully find out more about the photographers.
I particularly like the Boak & Sons example, with its illustration of their premises. The front window is crammed with examples of their work that would either attract or deter, depending on the quality of the images. An upstairs window is also shown, which may house the studio or maybe living quarters for the family.
The card that intrigues me most is the one showing a desert scene with stylised palm trees. Was this just an attempt to encourage customers into the exotic world of 19th century photography? Or is it in fact a foreign carte? The photograph on the front shows a young man, beneath whose image is written ‘Yours sincerely, Gordon B —‘ the surname being illegible. Just another photographic riddle to solve!
The other examples above are all variations on the numerous themes that photographers used to sell their services. I have to admire Mr McNamamra for the rather rousing image that he added to his cartes de visite, as well as the symmetry of William Thornton’s carte. Cherubs are still in evidence, as is the Muse, perched in a tree by Mr Bordley of Stafford. I shall enjoy unlocking any information I can about the above photographers but the desert scene will probably always stay a mystery.