A carte-de-visite of a woman working at a spinning wheel, taken by an unknown photographer in about 1870.
© Science & Society
A carte-de-visite is a photograph mounted on a piece of card the size of a formal visiting card of the 1850s - hence the name. The format was introduced by the French photographerAndre-Adolphe-Eugene Disdéri (1819-1889) in 1854. As well as family portraits, commercial cartes of celebrities such as politicians, Royalty and popular personalities were published. The craze for collecting celebrity cartes-de-visite in albums reached its peak during the 1860s but the format remained popular until the beginning of the twentieth century. The backs of cartes-de-visite were normally printed with the photographer's name and address.