A carte-de-visite portrait of King Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia, taken at the studio of Andre-Adolphe-Eugene DisdEri (1819-1889) in about 1865. Victor Emmanuel became the first king of a united Italy, following the risorgimento. 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 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.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library