'Sir G Wolseley', c 1870.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A carte-de-visite portrait of Sir Garnet Wolseley (1833-1913), taken at the studio of Maull & Co, London in about 1870. Viscount Wolseley was a British field marshal who served in battles throughout the world and was instrumental in modernizing the British army. His most famous service was his attempt to relieve General Charles G. Gordon (1833-1885) at Khartoum, Sudan (1884-85), for which he was made a Viscount. 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. 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 normal