A carte-de-visite portrait of William Makepiece Thackeray (1811-1863), taken at the studio of Herbert Watkins, 215 Regent Street, London, in about 1862. Thackeray was a novelist. He is best-known for 'Vanity Fair', published in 1848. 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 normally printed with the photographer's name and address.
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