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Victorian Carte De Visite photographs

The photographs you will see on this page are Carte-de-visite (CDV) or cartes, and are the small paper on card photographs, they measure typically 10.2 x 6.2cm, and the photograph which was pasted on to the card was roughly cut to about 9.0 x 5.7cm. They are described as sepia in colour (dark brown), but most have now faded to a yellow brown. The photographers details are usually printed or embossed on the lower front, or on the back of the card.

They were produced in vast numbers, and the format was used worldwide. Once the size had been established it did not change - for one good reason - photograph albums were produced with slots cut to fit them.

They were used from 1859 onward and a variation was still being used up to about 1908. They were a cheap way of getting your photograph taken and almost anyone could afford it. They were sold in six or twelve sets, some identical, some slight variations on the pose, the camera used mulitple lenses or the plate slider positioned to take the different poses on one plate. The contact print was then cut up and pasted on the card.

How were they used? Most families would have had a photograph album - a smart leather volume that was deliberately made up to look like a bible (family trees had been written in the front of the family bible) and this was your family tree in photographs and often set out in family units with the owner's father and mother usually being first. So you distributed your twelve identical cartes far and wide, sent in the post to fill family and sometimes friends albums all over the world - particulary important where families has emigrated and the family back home wanted to see a photograph of the grandchildren. There were also wall frames that could have a number of cartes slotted into them making a pleasing design as well as small stands, travelling cases - like playing card boxes, and they were sometimes cut up for putting into lockets. (copy courtesy of Roger Vaughan`s website - see link on Genealogy pages)

Our Victorian relatives via Carte De Visite

Mary Jones nee Edwards of Cefn Abertanat Farm, Llanyblodwel kindly lent me a photograph album of Carte De Visite photographs handed down to her from her grandmother who was Mary Hannah Edwards 1883 - 1978 who was the daughter of Robert Edwards 1842 - 1921 and Maria Roberts 1853 - 1930 who was the daughter of our GGGrandfather Edward Roberts 1801 - 1878, which means that we share the same GGGrandfather. Most of the people in the photographs are unknown to us as there were no inscriptions to go with the photographs but I think that I can safely say that they are our Victorian relations either direct line or marital lines. I have put these up for you to see and maybe one day we may be able to put names to the faces of some of them. There are just a few that we do know and I will include an identity if you care to scroll over them with your mouse..

Great Great Grandfather Edward Roberts 1801 - 1878 Unknown lady Unknown gent
unknown gent
unknown young lady
Unknown lady
unknown Gent
Unknown Gent
unknown lady
Unknown couple
Unknown gent
Unknown children
Unknown gent at Plas Gwyn porch
Robert Wynn Edwards and Megan Watkins, Mary`s parents.
Unknown lady
Unknown gent
Unknown gent
Unknown Lady
Unknown Gent
Unknown Gent
Unknown lady
Unknown boy
Unknown lady
Unknown Lady
Unknown Gent
Unknown gent
Unknown Baby
Unknown Ladies
Great Great Grandmother Hannah Lewis

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