Carte de visite

I go to a lot of flea and antique markets, often the only thing I can afford are one or two carte de visite, which usually cost from 50p to £2 each. I now have quite a collection.

This photo was unusually taken outside rather than in a studio
They first appeared in 1870 as a kind of calling card, later on they were replaced by larger Cabinet Cards. People would trade and collect them and keep them in albums. Each card is unique, showing the personality of the sitter through details of dress, for example the lady's necklace below.

There is a note attached to the back of this card with the name Berthe Fabregotte
It is possible to date the photos from fashionable details of hair and dress, which changed regularly, allowing the date to be guessed within a couple of years.

Written in pencil on the back '5th October 1863' 
 I collect cards on holiday, and am pleased to include pieces from France and Berlin in my collection. Each face makes you wonder what they had seen, and what they went on to see. 

The oldest piece in my collection, a tin type. 
The backs of the cards are as interesting as the fronts, with details of the studio in elaborate designs.