Prince Richard and Princess Pauline de Metternich
A.A.E. Disdéri of Paris
A carte-de-visite portrait of Prince Richard de Metternich and his wife, née Pauline Sándor, who was also his niece (actually his half-sister’s daughter).
In 1856 Prince Richard de Metternich was appointed the Austrian ambassador to the court of Napoléon III, and his wife quickly became the life and soul of the Second Empire. Possessed of exquisite taste, although unfortunately not the most beautiful of women, she was known as 'the best dressed monkey in Paris,' a soubriquet she coined herself. Charming, stylish and elegant, she set many trends, becoming a dominant force in the social and cultural life of the capital. It was she who introduced the English couturier Charles Worth to the Empress, and soon every woman in society wanted to be dressed by him.
As a close personal friend of the Empress Eugénie, Pauline was a regular attendant at all the balls at the Tuileries and a frequent house guest at the series of week-long parties held every autumn at the chateau of Compiègne. Whatever Pauline Metternich did or proposed to do, her friend the Empress acceded to her every whim. 'I leave it to you, Pauline' was her usual reply to any suggested plan for some new amusement that Pauline concocted in order to alleviate the boredom of life at court. She and the Princess supposedly once set off together to see what Paris looked like from the top of an omnibus, the pair of them disguised as men, the better to climb the ladder which was at that time the only means of reaching the upper-deck.
Princess Pauline died in Vienna on 18 September 1921. Her memoirs, published posthumously in two volumes, offer a fascinating, behind-the-scenes glimpse of life at the French court.
Photographed by the great Disdéri of Paris.
This particular carte-de-visite was copied by Degas for a portrait of the Princess (cropped at the waist, and with her husband omitted altogether) that now hangs in the National Gallery in London. It is one of the earliest known examples of an artist directly copying a photograph.
Condition: the print has good tonal range but presents some small imperfections, including the evidence of the operator’s fingerprint in the collodion on the original glass plate negative at the left hand edge and in the skirt of Richard’s coat. The mount is in excellent condition, with crisp edges and sharp corners.
Dimensions: the dimensions of a standard carte-de-visite are approximately 4.1" by 2.5" (10.5 cm by 6.3 cm).
Charles Thomas Mallin of Southport
A carte-de-visite portrait of John Jackson, one of the only survivors of the worst lifeboat disaster in British history.
John Jackson and Henry Robinson were the only survivors of the 'Eliza Fernley' lifeboat disaster. Their boat went down on 9 December 1886 coming to the aid of the German ship 'Mexico' during a severe storm off the coast of Southport. Of the crew of sixteen, only Jackson and Robinson survived. Another boat from nearby St Annes went down with all its crew. In all, twenty-eight lifeboatmen lost their lives that night.
‘So far as concerns the disaster to the Eliza Fernley, the Southport life-boat, […] its story is told by John Jackson, one of the survivors, who resides in West-street, Southport. He says that the boat was launched successfully and went nicely for a time. A very heavy sea was running, and their troubles soon commenced. […] They were beaten back several time, and shipped an immense quantity of water. It was pitch dark at the time, and the only indication of the distressed barque was the faint glimpse of a lamp which, as the boat got closer, they saw hung from the mizzen top. Jackson was able to discern that the vessel had lost her foremast and mainmast. They were at length within thirty yards of the vessel and could hear no shouting; indeed, the storm rose to such a pitch that it was with difficulty that they could hear their own voices. He was just about letting go the anchor to get the boat alongside, the vessel being then, he should say, twenty yards from the barque, when a tremendous sea caught the boat right amidships and she went over. They expected her to right herself, but she remained bottom upwards. Some of the crew managed at length to crawl out. He and Richard Robinson held firmly on to the rowlocks, and were buffeted about considerably. With some difficulty he got underneath the boat again and spoke, he thought, to Henry Robinson, Thomas Jackson, Timothy Rigby, and Peter Jackson. He called out, “I think she will never right; we have all to be drowned” and heard a voice, probably Henry Robinson’s, say “I think so, too.” […] Another heavy sea came, and Robinson disappeared with it and was never seen again. While underneath, Jackson called out to his brother but could get no answer. […] He drifted with the boat bottom upwards to the beach, and staggered home at three o’clock in the morning’ (Illustrated London News, 18 December 1886).
Photographed by Charles Thomas Mallin of Southport.
Entered at Stationers’ Hall (an essential part of the copyrighting process) on 31 January 1887.
Condition: the print, which is a Woodburytype, presents a couple of very small imperfections but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. The mount is also in excellent condition.
Dimensions: the dimensions of a standard carte-de-visite are approximately 4.1" by 2.5" (10.5 cm by 6.3 cm).
Andrew Bogle, a witness for the Tichborne Claimant
Maull and Co of London
The case of the Tichborne Claimant gripped the Victorian imagination like few other events. Sir Roger Tichborne, heir to the Tichborne estate, had been reported dead in 1854, drowned during a shipwreck while returning from Chile. In 1866 he miraculously resurfaced, working as a butcher at Wagga Wagga in Australia. He travelled to England and tried to claim his inheritance, which gave rise to one of the longest trials in the history of British jurisprudence. When his civil suit collapsed, and it became apparent he was in fact one Arthur Orton from Wapping, he was subsequently put on trial for perjury.
Andrew Bogle was a former slave from Jamaica and one-time valet to Roger Tichborne's uncle, Sir Edward Doughty Tichborne. On his retirement he had emigrated to Sydney in Australia and it was here that he became involved in the story of Arthur Orton. As a former Tichborne servant, his evidence was considered invaluable and he became one of the Claimant's principal supporters and a key witness in the courtroom. He and his son Henry travelled with the Claimant to England, where they acted as his constant companions and supporters. Opinion, then as now, remained divided between those who considered Bogle an honest old man who had been duped by the Claimant or a rogue who was party to a conspiracy to defraud the Tichborne estate.
Photographed by Maull and Co of London.
Condition: the print, which is a Woodburytype, is in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. The mount presents a few small marks verso but is otherwise also in excellent condition, with crisp edges and sharp corners.
Dimensions: the dimensions of a standard carte-de-visite are approximately 4.1" by 2.5" (10.5 cm by 6.3 cm).
Samuel A. Walker of London
A carte-de-visite portrait of Francis Trevelyan Buckland (1826-1880), better known as Frank Buckland, who was a surgeon, zoologist, popular author, natural historian and pisciculturalist. In 1865 he founded at his own expense the Museum of Economic Fish Culture in South Kensington. Two years later he became Inspector of Salmon Fisheries, a post he retained for the rest of his life. He was a frequent contributor of papers on all matters piscatorial to scientific journals and the author of such works as Fish Hatching (1863), Log Book of a Fisherman and Zoologist (1876) and Natural History of British Fishes (1881). He also took a great interest in the establishment of public aquariums and his advice was often sought on the management of these popular institutions.
Born in Oxford on 17 December 1826, he was the eldest son of Canon William Buckland, Dean of Westminster, a noted geologist and palaeontologist, and Mary, a fossil collector, palaeontologist and illustrator. He was educated at Winchester and Christ Church, Oxford. After a brief career as an assistant surgeon in the 2nd Life Guards, Buckland devoted himself to natural history. He was a key member and founder of the Acclimatisation Society in Britain, an organization that supported the introduction of new plants and animals as food sources. A pioneer of zoöphagy, his favourite research was eating the animal kingdom. This habit he learnt from his father, whose residence, the Deanery, offered such rare delights as mice in batter, squirrel pie, horse's tongue and ostrich. Buckland's own home, 37 Albany Street in London, was famous for its menagerie and its exotic menus, including, at times, boiled elephant trunk, rhinoceros pie, porpoise heads, and stewed mole.
According to his entry in the Dictionary of National Biography, ‘he devoted all his energies not merely to the duties of his office, but to the elucidation of every point connected with the history of salmon, and endeavoured in every way to improve the condition of the British fisheries and of fisher-folk in general. These objects involved frequent visits to the rivers and coasts of the country, when he was ever a welcome guest among high and low, and was thus continually adding to his stores of information. […] Genial, sagacious, enthusiastic, always prone to look at the humorous side of a subject, Buckland aimed rather at enlisting the sympathies of others in his favourite studies than at acquiring the name of a profound writer on science. He held the ordinary usages of society in supreme contempt when they appeared to interfere with his zeal for experiment and research in natural history, and his friends love to recall him, now wading into some icy cold river to capture salmon for the purpose of artificial breeding, now smoking and in his shirts sleeves as he arranged his curiosities at South Kensington, and now again humorously dilating in his house in Albany Street on the habits of pet animals which generally ran loose about his rooms. Numberless as were his personal friends, they were few compared with those who knew and loved him from his books, owing to the unstudied eloquence of all he wrote and the attractive manner in which he descanted on his favourite pursuits. […] The native birds, beasts, and fishes lost a friend and protector when Buckland died. Under his love of nature and the extreme interest which he took in biological studies lay a profound but childlike faith.’
On 11 August 1863 he married Hannah Papps, who had at this point already been living with him for some time as his ‘housekeeper’ (1861 census).
Frank Buckland died, aged 54, on 19 December 1880. His death certificate records the cause of death as hepatic disease and bronchitis although the actual cause may have been pulmonary tuberculosis. He was buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.
Photographed by Samuel A. Walker of London.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections but is otherwise in good condition. The mount is in excellent condition, with crisp edges and sharp corners.
A carte-de-visite self-portrait by the photographer Oliver Sarony (1820-1879).
One of the most commercially successful photographers of his day, Sarony operated a studio in the fashionable resort of Scarborough. His premises comprised no less than 98 rooms and up to 110 people were employed there at any one time. When he died in 1879, the turnover of his studio was estimated at £20,000, and this in a season that only lasted three months.
Born Olivier François Xavier Sarony in Quebec in 1820, his name was Anglicised to Oliver some time soon after his arrival in England in 1843. He operated first as an itinerant daguerreotypist and is known to have worked at different times in Bradford, Chesterfield, Mansfield, Huddersfield, Hull, Lincolnshire, and Doncaster. In 1854 he settled briefly in Wiesbach, before spending a year in Cambridge and then another in Norwich, finally settling in Scarborough in 1857.
The studio that he commissioned architects John and David Petch to build for him was one of the grandest in Europe; the Scarborough Gazette called it ‘an establishment with every convenience for carrying out Photography to perfection.’ Designed to impress his clients, it included a gallery long enough to place the camera 40 feet from the sitter with a direct north light. Built in the Louis XV style, Sarony called the premises Gainsborough House.
The business prospered, not only from Scarborough’s annual influx of royalty, nobility and gentry but also as a result of the various technological innovations that the photographer invented and patented. A major part of his business was the production of high quality photographs of paintings, for which he exploited the benefits of the new carbon process. Another important source of revenue was the production of large portraits, photographic enlargements finished in oils by skilful painters. By 1871, his studio was said to be the largest photographic establishment in Europe, but Sarony began to suffer from diabetes and grew increasing more debilitated. He collapsed in town one day and died at his home on 30 August 1879. He was buried in Scarborough cemetery.
The studio continued into the twentieth century under the name Sarony & Co. For some time after the death of its founder, the business was managed by Samuel Waind Fisher, the husband of Oliver’s niece, Jennie, daughter of the New York photographer Napoleon Sarony.
It is thought that this portrait shows Sarony wearing the silver medal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, which he received for his bravery during a storm at Scarborough on 2 November 1861.
Condition: the print presents some spotting in the area of the background but is otherwise in good condition. The mount is in excellent condition.
The royal family with a bust of the late Prince Consort
John Mayall of London
A carte-de-visite portrait of the British royal family grouped around a bust of the late Prince Consort; the sitting was organised to mark the occasion of the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark.
Back row (standing): Princess Alexandra, the Prince of Wales, Princess Alice, her husband the Prince of Hesse.Front row (seated): Princess Helena, Queen Victoria, with Princess Beatrice resting her head on her shoulder, Vicky the Crown Princess of Prussia in the paisley shawl. Prince Arthur is kneeling in the front wearing a kilt.
Queen Victoria, having decided that she could not bring herself to take part in the procession nor to discard her mourning for the day, watched the ceremony from a high oak closet on the north side of the altar. That night she wrote in her journal 'Oh! what I suffered in the Chapel....It was indescribable. At one moment, when I first heard the flourish of trumpets, which brought back to my mind my whole life of twenty years at his dear side, safe, proud, secure, and happy, and I felt as I should faint. Only by a violent effort could I succeed in mastering my emotions!'
Photographed by John Jabez Edwin Mayall of London.
Condition: the print presents a couple of very small imperfections but is otherwise in excellent condition, as is the mount.
London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company
A carte-de-visite portrait of the English poet and flagellant Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909).
The son of an admiral, Swinburne was born in London but spent his childhood on the Isle of Wight. He was educated in France and at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, which he left without a degree. As well as French and Italian, Swinburne mastered Greek and Latin and early on showed interest in the intricacies of poetic form.
He first attracted attention with the choruses of his Greek-style tragedy Atalanta in Calydon (1865) but he and Dante Rossetti were attacked as leaders of the ‘fleshly school of poetry,’ and the revolutionary politics of Songs before Sunrise (1871) alienated others.
Along with his friends Sir Richard Burton and Richard Monkton-Milnes, Swinburne wrote about – and indulged in – the English vice, flagellation. During the 1860s and 1870s, Swinburne wrote several poems on a flagellant theme, included in volumes of erotica entitled The Flogging Block and The Whippingham Papers, and much of his more openly published work contains eroticised images of death, vampires, and masochistic acts.
Burton and Swinburne also shared a virulent hatred of Christianity. Swinburne’s Poems and Ballads outraged pious Victorians, particularly the line ‘Thou has conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath.’
Seriously addicted to alcohol by the beginning of the 1870s, Swinburne engaged the sympathies of Theodore Watts (later Watts-Dunton), who carried him off in 1879 to his home in Putney where, for the rest of his life, the enfant terrible of Victorian letters lived a passive, conventional and suburban existence. Thus rescued from an early death, under Watts-Dunton’s care Swinburne experienced an abundant creative resurgence.
Photographed by the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company.
Condition: the print presents some marks and spotting, mostly peripheral. The mount is in excellent condition, with crisp edges and sharp corners.
William and Daniel Downey of London and Newcastle
A carte-de-visite portrait of George MacDonald (1824-1905), children’s author, novelist, poet and Christian minister.
Though no longer well known, his works (particularly his fairy tales and fantasy novels) have inspired admiration in such notables as W.H. Auden and J.R.R. Tolkein, while C.S. Lewis wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his ‘master.’ Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day in a train station he began to read. ‘A few hours later,’ wrote Lewis, ‘I knew I had crossed a great frontier.’ G.K. Chesterton cited The Princess and the Goblin as a book that had ‘made a great difference to my whole existence.’ Even Mark Twain, who initially despised MacDonald, became friends with him, and there is some evidence that Twain too was influenced by MacDonald.
The son of a Scottish weaver, MacDonald was educated at Aberdeen University before training as a Congregational minister. Finding his own individualistic views unacceptable to his parish, he gradually turned to literature, producing original fairy-stories shot through with an unmistakable blend of Christian symbolism and mystical imagination. His most famous story, At the Back of the North Wind (1871), describes a little cabdriver’s son called Diamond, who ventures forth each night from his bedroom in the company of the North Wind, pictured as a beautiful lady, to travel over the world. Subsequent classics include The Princess and the Goblin (1872), a powerful allegory of good and evil, and The Princess and Curdie (1883), in which the miner’s son Curdie has to brave dangers from goblins in order to save the princess. MacDonald’s adult fiction – the allegorical Phantastes (1858) and Lilith (1895), and novels such as David Elginbrod (1863) – is less well remembered, but his powerful imagination has influenced many authors.
MacDonald was also a friend of the Reverend Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland who was also a keen amateur photographer of children. MacDonald’s children Mary, Lily, Irene and Greville all sat for Dodgson on various occasions, as indeed did MacDonald himself.
Photographed by William and Daniel Downey of London and Newcastle
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections and a slight loss of tone in the area of the background but is otherwise in excellent condition, as is the mount.
Pierre Petit of Paris
A carte-de-visite portrait of Monsignor Georges Darboy (1813-1871), from January 1863 the Archbishop of Paris. Darboy was executed at the prison of La Roquette on 25 May 1871, a notorious incident that took place during la Semaine Sanglante [the Bloody Week] in the final days of the Paris Commune.
Monsignor Darboy was arrested by the Communards on 4 April 1871 and held as a hostage, at first in the prison at Mazas. He was later transferred to La Roquette when the army of Versailles advanced on Paris. The intention was to exchange him for the socialist and political activist Louis Auguste Blanqui. The American ambassador, Elihu B. Washburne, acted as intermediary in the negotiations. When the proposal was coldly rejected by Thiers, Monsignor Darboy, along with several others, was executed.
Photographed by Pierre Petit of Paris.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections, including one in the area of the sitter’s forehead, but is otherwise in fine condition, with good tonal range. The mount presents a small amount of pale foxing verso but is otherwise in excellent condition.
Charles of Bordeaux
A carte-de-visite portrait of an elderly black woman wearing a plain dress and a patterned headwrap. A faint, pencilled inscription verso in a period hand identifies her as ‘Mdme Sainval.’
Photographed by Charles of 3 rue Mautrec, Bordeaux.
Charles Chambon, known professionally as ‘Charles,’ operated a studio at this address between 1857 and 1870. According to Voignier, in 1871 he relocated to 46 allées de Tourny, where the studio remained until it closed at the beginning of the 20th century.
Condition: the print presents a few small marks in the area of the background, mostly peripheral, but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. The mount presents an uneven upper edge, a few small marks recto in the margins and some minor wear at one lower corner; it is otherwise crisp and clean.
Holaus’s Tyrolese Singers
Walter Lewis of Bath
A carte-de-visite portrait of Holaus’s Tyrolese Singers, musicians from the Zillerthal, a valley in the Austrian Tyrol.
The Tyrolese Singers appeared regularly in London in the late 1860s and throughout the 1870s, not only in public but also at private recitals, including on several occasions for the Queen and other members of the Royal family. They were also available to hire for the evening and frequently placed announcements advertising their availability in the classified columns of the Times. One advertisement (7 September 1868) reads: ‘The Tyrolese Singers from the Zillerthal, seven [sic] in number, who have had the honour of appearing on several occasions before Her Majesty and the Prince and Princess of Wales, at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, and Marlborough-house, may be engaged for public and private concerts, fetes, etc. Terms and particulars may be obtained at Mr Mitchell’s Royal library, 33, Old Bond Street.’
Photographed by Walter George Lewis of Bath.
Condition: the print presents a very small amount of spotting but is otherwise in excellent condition, with good tonal range. The mount presents some foxing verso but is firm and solid.
The opening of The Green in West Cowes, Isle of Wight
A child's entry ticket to the ceremony, 2 June 1864
A carte-de-visite showing the newly refurbished Green in West Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The reverse of the mount makes it clear that in addition to commemorating the improvements, the carte also doubled as an entry ticket for the ceremony held to mark the opening of the public space.
According to a report in the Isle of Wight Times (5 May 1864): ‘The work of improvement on the Green still goes on, and in a few days the whole will be completed, and will form a most complete change when compared to the old rough spot over which our residents and visitors heretofore stumbled rather than walked. In the centre of the green a handsome place has been created to accommodate the band intended to play there during the summer season. To the Northward of this a beautifully designed Drinking Fountain has been placed, to give water to them that are thirsty. We believe it was intended to have some public demonstration on Monday last the 2nd of May, but as the whole of the works were not complete, it has been delayed for a time.’
On 26 May 1864 the same journal reported: ‘The extensive alterations and improvements now being made on our Green, are nearly completed, and from a printed bill we learn that it will be formally opened on the 2nd of June, when an open-air concert of vocal music, by a choir of 250 voices, will take place, under the management of Mr G.W. Martin, of London. The Hants Yeomanry band, together with the private band of G.R. Stephenson, Esq., will also perform on the Green during the day. Should the weather be fine, an immense concourse of people may be expected to attend. The children of the various schools, and the old men and women, are to be regaled with a substantial meal, and we believe it will be a day long remembered among us, as the commencement of a long career of prosperity to the town of Cowes. […] While noticing the subject, we cannot avoid expressing a hope that as the Green is now public property, every man who visits it will not only refrain from doing it, or its ornaments any injury, but will strenuously aid in putting down all improper conduct, and endeavour to bring to punishment, any who shall wantonly injure the property.’
From the various reports that subsequently appeared in several local papers, it seems that ‘the day and all its proceedings were all that could be wished,’ despite ‘some pitiful scoundrel’ stealing the calico that had been used to cover the seats of the orchestra (Isle of Wight Times, 9 June 1864).
The upper right corner of the print (and mount) carry a blindstamp showing the arms and motto (Latin: Fidus in Arcanis; English: Faithful in Secret) of the Stephenson family, George Robert Stephenson, nephew of the locomotive engineer, being the benefactor who had purchased and refurbished the space for the town.
Condition: The print presents a few small imperfections but is otherwise in excellent condition. The mount presents a few linear indentations verso but is otherwise also in excellent condition, with crisp edges and sharp corners.
The Honorable Lewis Wingfield
George Mansfield of Dublin; Victor Albert Prout
A younger son of Viscount Powerscourt, the Honourable Lewis Strange Wingfield was educated at Eton and at Bonn. He was originally intended for the diplomatic service but he chose instead the stage and in 1865 made his debut playing the goddess Minerva as an elderly spinster in F.C. Burnand’s burlesque Ixion. (Elderly spinsters frequently featured in Victorian humour.)
Reviews were mixed. Although one commentator praised his ‘sense of the humorous both in character and action’, another wrote of ‘his idiotic dance in petticoats that might stand for something in competitive examination for admission into the Earlswood Asylum, but as a gentleman’s first bid for the honours of the English stage was a distressing sight to see.’
Less than a fortnight later he was appearing in a production of Hamlet at the Haymarket, where one critic though he ‘impersonated Roderigo precisely as a school girl in male attire would have performed it.’
Wingfield soon abandoned his theatrical aspirations and by 1871 he was tending the wounded of Paris during its two sieges. He seems to have been one of those astonishing Victorian dynamos, for he later followed a varied career as an artist, a doctor and an author.
According to his entry in the Dictionary of National Biography, ‘[h]e led a varied career, being capricious and unstable, never remaining with any one activity for very long and never reaching the top rank in any of them […] Wingfield has left many examples of his eccentric behaviour, such as going to the Derby as a "negro minstrel," spending nights in a workhouse and pauper lodgings, and becoming an attendant in a madhouse. He travelled in various parts of the East and was one of the first Englishmen to journey in the interior of China.’
Although Wingfield was married in 1868 to Cecilia Emma Fitzpatrick, fourth daughter of the 1st Baron Castletown, it seems more than likely that he was gay. In April 1879 several newspapers reported on a 'Strange Charge of Watch Stealing.' According to one article, Lewis 'fell in' with a soldier in Hyde Park one morning but later accused the soldier of stealing his watch. The accused, in turn, made 'disgraceful allegations' against Lewis. Needless to say, the court sided with the peer's son and the unfortunate soldier got five years hard labour. Hyde Park was notorious well into the twentieth century as a cruising area where wealthy homosexuals could meet a 'bit of scarlet' eager to earn a few extra shillings, so it's not difficult to read between the lines and grasp the real story behind the encounter.
The Honourable Lewis Wingfield died in London at 14 Montague Place on 12 November 1891, aged 51, and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery.
The first portrait, which is by George Mansfield of Dublin, shows Wingfield dressed en femme in an unidentified production.
The second portrait shows Wingfield with the society beauty Georgina Moncrieffe (later the Countess of Dudley) dressed as Mary, Queen of Scots. Their tableau depicts the Scottish queen with her Italian secretary, David Rizzio, murdered in 1566 on the order of Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley.
Although the back of the mount bears a backplate identifying the photographer as S. Ayling of 493 Oxford Street [London], the photograph was actually taken by Victor Albert Prout. The occasion was the Braemar Gathering held in the grounds of Mar Lodge in August 1863 during the first official visit to Scotland by the Princess and Princess of Wales. At the celebrations that followed the games, the Prince and Princess were entertained with a series of tableaux vivants and scenes from amateur theatricals staged by other guests. Full details of the event, other photographs in the series, and the story of the Mar Lodge album subsequently produced are given in ‘Staged Photography in the Victorian Album,’ an excellent essay by Marta Weiss in Acting The Part: Photography as Theatre (2006).
Condition: the first carte is only in fair condition; its print presents some dark patches in the area of the background and its mount is stained and grubby. The second carte is in excellent condition, both print and mount.
Pesme of Paris
A carte-de-visite portrait of the clown acrobat and juggler Jean-Baptiste Auriol (1808-1881), one of the most famous circus performers of the Second Empire. He appeared regularly at the Cirque de l'Impératrice.
On 20 September 1862 the Connaught Watchman carried the following report. ‘Auriol, the popular clown of the Cirque de l’Imperatrice, has recently been plunged into the deepest affliction. After losing his son, a fine young man, who was to have succeeded him as clown, he has just now lost his only remaining child, a daughter, Mme Auriol, married to a cousin of the same name, who died a few days since in childbed. The funeral took place in the chapel in the Avenue St Cloud, and presented a heartrending spectacle. At the cemetery the bereaved husband could not stand without support, the unhappy father on taking the last look at his daughter’s coffin, fell back insensible into the arms of his friends. Pour Auriol, who is now 65, will hardly recover this terrible shock, and yet perhaps he may be obliged still to amuse the public with his jests and antics.’
Auriol died on 29 August 1881. ‘Jean Baptiste Auriol, a gymnast and clown, of European celebrity and the delight of circus-goers fifty years ago, expired on Monday at the advanced age of seventy-three. When only six years old Auriol made his début in the arena, and quickly attained a reputation for the skill and originality of his antics. After successfully exercising his profession in Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain, he became attached to the famous circus of Franconi, in Paris, in the year 1834, and continued an active career as a clown until he reached the age of fifty, when he went on the stage’ (Daily Telegraph & Courier, 1 September 1881).
Photographed by Pesme of Paris.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections in the area of the background but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. The mount is clean and firm, with crisp edges and sharp corners. A pencilled inscription verso in a period hand reads: ‘Auriol, comique du Cirque Franconi.’
A carte-de-visite portrait of the trapeze artist Jules Léotard (1838-1870).
The inventor of the trapeze act, Léotard was born in Toulouse, the son of a gymnast father. Jules always claimed that as a baby his parents would hang him upside-down to stop him crying. Later the young Jules would practice his act over the pool of his father’s gymnasium. He first performed publicly on 12 November 1859 at the Cirque Napoléon in Paris, where his act caused a sensation. His first London performance was at the Alhambra in May 1861, and he returned to London again in 1866 and 1868, appearing at music halls and pleasure gardens. At the Ashburnham Hall in Cremorne he performed on five trapezes simultaneously, turning somersaults between each one. The spectacle was so thrilling that occasionally young ladies in the audience would faint.
While Jules Léotard was performing in London during the summer of 1862, on 28 July he was married in the Roman Catholic church of St John the Evangelist on Duncan Terrace in Islington. The bride was Domenica Serafina Bernini, the twenty-five-year old daughter of Pietro Bernini, of ‘Independent’ means. The marriage was not a successful one, since it was reported by The Bayswater Chronicle (10 December 1864), quoting an earlier report in The Era, that ‘The wife of Leotard, an Italian [sic] performer, who now calls herself “Madame Silvia Bernini,” has brought an action against her husband suing for a separation and it is said that the marriage may be annulled. The parties were married in London in July, 1862.’
Léotard is still remembered today in the garment he gave his name to, originally an all-in-one knitted suit that allowed complete freedom of movement with nothing that could get entangled with the ropes. The tight fabric also showed off his physique to great advantage, as one can see in this portrait.
Jules Léotard died from an infectious disease (probably smallpox) in 1870, at the age of thirty-three.
An embossed blindstamp recto in the lower margin identifies the photographer as 'L.P.'
Condition: the print presents some small imperfections, mostly noticeably a small nick at the centre of its lower edge and some abrasions near the centre of the upper edge. The mount presents some faint marks and yellowing verso but is otherwise in reasonably good condition, with crisp edges and sharp corners.
Camille Silvy of London
A carte-de-visite portrait of the celebrated actor Charles Fechter (1824-1879).
Charles Albert Fechter was born in London on 23 October 1824, but his father being German-French, he was taken to France at a young age and educated there. He began his adult life as a sculptor, but had a natural inclination for the stage. In 1840 he made his debut at the Salle Molière. Next followed a tour of France and a visit to Italy before he appeared in Berlin. In 1852 he created the role of Armand in the stage adaptation of La dame aux camellias by Dumas fils. He made his London debut at the Princess’s Theatre in 1860 in an English translation of Ruy Blas and the following year astonished theatre goers with his interpretation of Hamlet, which was to become his most famous role and the part for which he is best remembered.
He toured the United States, where his audiences were almost as large as his fees, in 1869-1870 and again in 1872, when he decided to make America his home. As a place of retreat he bought a farm at Richmond, three miles from Quakertown, Pennsylvania, where he lived with his second wife Lizzie Price. He became very fat, which somewhat limited the roles he could play. He died on 5 August 1879 after a painful illness.
Photographed by the great Camille Silvy of London on 11 June 1862.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections in the area of the background but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. The mount has sustained a diagonal crease at its upper left-hand corner but is otherwise crisp and clean.
A.A.E. Disdéri of Paris
A carte-de-visite portrait of the Italian soprano Giulia Grisi (1811-1869).
In 1854, the Italian soprano Giulia Grisi toured the United States with Giuseppe Mario, whom she married in 1856. Roles were written for her by Bellini (in I puritani) and by Donizetti (in Don Pasquale). Her first teacher was her sister, Giuditta Grisi (1805-1840), a mezzo-soprano who married and retired in 1834.
Madame Grisi died in Berlin in 1869. On Tuesday 30 November of that year The Times reported ‘News has reached us from Berlin of the death of Madame Giulia Grisi at the Hotel du Nord of that city, on Thursday last, after a short but severe attack of inflammation of the lungs.’ According to the obituary, which runs to some length, ‘Although Madame Grisi had for some years – for a good many years, indeed – ceased to be a prominent figure in the operatic world, […] during a longer period than is ordinarily given to artists of her class to excite public interest, she held a position in this country such as it has been the lot of very few to hold.’
Photographed by the great Disdéri of Paris. Remembered for having been the first to establish photography as a business as well as an artistic craft, his contemporaries considered him the outstanding portrait photographer in France.
Condition: the print presents a few small white spots in the area of the background but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. The mount is also in excellent condition, with crisp edges and sharp corners.
Elliott and Fry of London
A carte-de-visite portrait of the musical giant Josef (or Joseph) Joachim (1831-1907), considered the greatest violinist of the nineteenth century.
Photographed by Elliott and Fry of London.
Condition: the print presents a large number of small black flecks, mostly in the area of the background, but is otherwise in good condition. The mount is clean, firm and solid. A wetstamp verso identifies the Scottish stockist where the carte was originally purchased.
William and Daniel Downey of Newcastle
A carte-de-visite portrait of Hortense Schneider (1833-1920), one of the first major stars in the history of musical theatre.
Hortense Schneider was born in Bordeaux around 1833 [sources differ]. She made her Paris debut in Le Violoneux (1855), a one-act operetta by Jacques Offenbach. Over the next ten years, she built her résumé while leading a scandalous private life as one of the Second Empire’s most notorious courtesans. For many years she was the mistress of Prince Napoléon, the Emperor’s cousin, but he was not her only titled lover and she was popularly known as le passage des Princes.
In 1864 she originated the title role of La Belle Hélène, Offenbach’s comic look at the legendary Helen of Troy and the first in a quartet of Offenbach hits in which she starred. Barbe-bleu (1866) was followed by the title role in La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein (1867). In 1868 she starred in La Perichole, which had a Peruvian street-singer choosing between a penniless artist and the Spanish Viceroy. She repeated most of these roles during brief runs in London.
Schneider possessed a powerful voice, and her knack for delivering comic dialogue laced with sexual innuendo made her the toast of Paris. However, her temperamental and quarrelsome attitude, her tantrums and her walk-outs, all made her difficult to work with. When critics remarked that she was getting old, she promptly retired from the stage, but remained a prominent figure in Parisian society for the next five decades.
Hortense Schneider died in Paris on 5 May 1920.
Photographed by William and Daniel Downey of Newcastle.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections and some spotting in the area of the area of the background. The mount is firm, solid and reasonably clean, with crisp edges and sharp corners.
Mlle Blanche Cernay
Alexandre Ken of Paris
A carte-de-visite portrait of a young performer dressed as she appeared in an unidentified production.
The sitter is identified verso only as ‘Cernay.’ Some later cabinet card portraits currently on French eBay give her full name.
Photographed by Alexandre Ken of Paris.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections in the area of the background but is otherwise in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. The mount is clean and firm, with crisp edges and sharp corners. A number neatly inscribed verso in red ink is probably the mark of a previous collector.
An unidentified dancer
Eugène Feyen of Paris
A carte-de-visite portrait of an unidentified dancer posed suggestively with her skirts raised and one foot on a chair. One can easily imagine this sort of portrait being passed around after dinner by the gentlemen of the Jockey Club.
Photographed by Eugène Feyen of Paris.
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections but is otherwise in fine condition, with very good tonal range. The mount presents some stains and discolouration recto in one margin and verso at two edges but is otherwise crisp and clean, with sharp corners.
Eli Bowen and his family
A. Newman of Philadelphia
A carte-de-visite portrait of Eli Bowen, sometimes called 'the handsomest man in show business,' born in Ohio in 1844. One of ten children, he was born with flipper like feet growing out of his hips, a medical condition now known as phocomelia. Fully grown, he weighed 140 pounds and stood two feet tall. In order to compensate for his disability, he developed a powerful upper torso. He taught himself to perform tumbling tricks and acrobatics (one of which was to balance at the top of an unsupported pole), and at the age of thirteen he joined Major Brown's Coliseum. Eventually he joined the sideshow of the impresario P.T. Barnum, who teamed him up with Charles Tripp, 'the Armless Wonder.' Their most popular act was to ride a tandem bike together, Bowen steering and Tripp pedalling.
Barnum was the greatest showman of them all, and his stable of oddly gifted individuals earned him a staggering four million dollars, an enormous sum for the period, part of which would have come from the sale of cartes-de-visite wherever the show appeared. His cast were well looked after and happy with the percentage they received. In many cases, their lot in life was far better than it would have been had they been born other than how they were. Bowen was thus able to turn what many considered a disability into a lucrative livelihood. He married and fathered three children before retiring to California.
The photographer is A. Newman of 228 North Ninth Street, Philadelphia.
Condition: both the print and the mount are in excellent condition.
Nellie Bouverie in Little Red Riding Hood
A carte-de-visite portrait of Nellie Bouverie (sometimes Bouverie-Smith) as ‘Boy Blue’ in a production of the pantomime Little Red Riding Hood presented at the New Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh in December 1883.
‘Miss Bouverie is duly exuberant – perhaps just a little too much so – as Boy Blue’ (Edinburgh Evening News, 13 December 1883).
‘Miss Nellie Bouverie, who takes the part of Boy Blue, is an actress who spares no pains and works very hard. She acts with an energy and abandon which perforce carry her audience with her. She is eminently bright and lively’ (Edinburgh Courant, quoted in an advertisement in The Era, 22 December 1883).
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections in the area of the background but is otherwise in excellent condition, with good tonal range. The mount presents some marks verso but is firm and solid, with crisp edges and sharp corners. A pencilled inscription verso in a period hand identifies the sitter as ‘Nellie Smith.’
Victor Petit of Langres
Two carte-de-visite portraits of a scantily clad, bearded fisherman wearing only a loincloth and a Phrygian cap.
Photographed by Victor Petit of Langres, a small commune about 185 miles SE of Paris (and nowhere near the sea).
Medals incorporated into the design of the photographer’s backplate suggest a date shortly after 1865.
Condition: the prints present a few small imperfections but are otherwise in excellent condition. One print has slightly better tonal range than the other. Both mounts are clean, firm and solid.
Balloonists James Glaisher and Henry Coxwell
Negretti and Zambra of London
A carte-de-visite portrait of the English meteorologist and aeronaut James Glaisher (1809-1903), seen here with his usual co-pilot Henry Tracey Coxwell (1819-1900).
The son of a London watchmaker, Glaisher was an assistant at the Royal Greenwich Observatories at Cambridge and Greenwich, and Superintendent of the Department of Meteorology and Magnetism at Greenwich for thirty-four years. He was a founder member of the Meteorological Society (1850), the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain (1866) and a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Between 1862 and 1866, usually with Henry Tracey Coxwell as his co-pilot, Glaisher made numerous ascents in order to measure the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere at its highest levels. On one ascent in 1862, the two men broke the world record for altitude. Estimates suggest that they rose to more than 9,500 metres and as much as 10,900 metres above sea-level. However, Glaisher passed out around 8,800 metres before a reading could be taken. Coxwell, unable to use his frostbitten hands, opened the gas-valve with his teeth, and made an extremely rapid but safe descent.
Coxwell was the son of a naval officer and was educated for the army, but became a dentist. From a boy he had been greatly interested in ballooning, then in its infancy, but his own first ascent was not made until 1844. In 1848 he became a professional aeronaut, making numerous public ascents in the chief continental cities. Returning to London, he gave exhibitions from the Cremorne and subsequently from the Surrey Gardens. By 1861 he had made over 400 ascents. His last ascent was made in 1885 and in 1887 he published My Life and Balloon Experiences.
Photographed by Negretti and Zambra of London.
Condition: The print presents a small amount of foxing in the area to the right of the basket but is otherwise in very good condition. The mount presents minor wear at one corner and a small amount of faint foxing but is otherwise in excellent condition.
The house where Napoléon III met Bismarck after the Battle of Sedan
Alexander J. Grossman of Dover
A carte-de-visite showing the weaver’s house at Donchery where, following the defeat of the French Army by the Prussian forces at the Battle of Sedan, Napoléon III met Otto von Bismarck on 2 September 1870 to discuss the terms of surrender.
The commune of Donchery does not have a Wikipedia page in English but both its French and German pages record the historic meeting that took place there. The French page also has a photograph of the house as it looks today. If you google ‘Donchery AND Bismarck’ you’ll find numerous contemporary prints illustrating the meeting and various photographs in postcard format that must have been taken some thirty years after the event. There are no photographs on the Internet that show the house as it looked in the early 1870s.
An inked inscription verso in a period hand reads: ‘The weavers [sic] cottage where the Emp. Wm. & Bismarck met Napoleon after Sedan to discuss terms of peace 1870.’
In fact, Wilhelm I was not present at the meeting in Donchery. Napoléon III had been trying to reach him but it was in order to thwart his intentions that Bismarck headed him off at Donchery. After a stormy but futile conversation, the two men proceeded to the Château of Bellevue at Frénois where Wilhelm was waiting to accept the French capitulation.
Photographed by Alexander J. Grossman of Dover.
Condition: the print presents a considerable amount of foxing throughout the image, most noticeably in the area of the sky. The mount presents a small amount of corner wear and general signs of age but is otherwise in reasonably good condition.
A hand-coloured carte-de-visite portrait of a bare-footed Neapolitan man taking it easy in a wicker basket propped up against a stone wall. An inked inscription in the lower margin reads: ‘Naples un lazzarone.’
A 'lazzarone' was any of the poorer class of homeless idlers of Naples who lived by chance work or begging. Such figures were once common on the streets of Naples.
In 1812 Stendhal wrote in his journal: ‘Pensez-vous donc que le métier de lazzarone soit un métier d'honnête homme? − Il n'y en a pas de plus honnête; on n'est ni maître ni valet; on ne dépend que de soi; on ne travaille que lorsqu'il y a urgence, et il n'y a jamais urgence, tant qu'on a un bon soleil.’ [English: ‘Do you think that the job of lazzarone is the profession of an honest man? There is none more honest; one is neither master nor valet; one has only oneself to think of; one need only work when urgency requires and there is never any urgency while the sun is shining’].
Condition: the print presents a few small imperfections but is otherwise in excellent condition and the hand-colouring, which is fresh and unfaded, is very well-executed. The mount is clean, firm and solid.
A scribe and his client
Giorgio Conrad of Naples
A carte-de-visite showing a scribe and his client seated at a wooden table in the shade of a large umbrella. A sign hanging from the front of the table reads ‘Si traduce il francese’ [English: ‘French translated here’].
Even to this day, in societies with low literacy rates street-corner letter-writers and readers may be found offering the same service.
Photographed by Giorgio Conrad of Naples.
Condition: both the print and the mount are in excellent condition.
Two fighters with trainers and a referee
W.H. Dodds of Wolverhampton
An unusual carte-de-visite showing two combatants, their trainers, a time-keeper and a referee. The two fighters are holding either ends of a scarf. Presumably they had to fight with one hand without letting go of the scarf with the other.
Photographed by W.H. Dodds of Wolverhampton.
Condition: the print presents some small marks and imperfections but overall is fine condition, with good tonal range. The mount presents some edge and corner wear and various other signs of age.
A beached whale
A carte-de-visite showing a dead whale lying on a stony beach at an unidentified location.
The photographer has provided a sense of scale by posing a human figure next to the whale but on closer inspection the subject turns out to be a child; chosen, no doubt, in order to make the whale seem far larger than it in fact was.
Condition: the print is in excellent condition. The mount presents some faint discolouration verso but is otherwise clean, firm and solid. An inked inscription verso in a period hand reads ‘Copyright.’