'Victor Hugo', c 1870.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A carte-de-visite portrait of Victor Hugo (1802-1885), taken at the studio of Ghemar Freres, Brussels. One of the most important French writers of the 19th century, Victor Hugo's best known works include 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame', 1831, and 'Les Miserables', 1862. Hugo's political ideas won him both acclaim and hostility - he fled France in 1851 due to his opposition to Napoleon. At his death in 1885, however he was publicly celebrated, receiving burial in the Pantheon with great honours. 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 photographer Andre-Adolphe-Eugene Disderi (1819-1889) in 1854.