About Cabinet Cards

I’ll be posting examples of my own collection of old photographs starting with cabinet cards. Cabinet cards were first produced in the 1860s but did not reach peak popularity until the 1880s by which time they had largely replaced the smaller carte de visite. Soon cabinet cards would also be overtaken by the introduction of the Box Brownie in 1900 making it possible for everyone to make their own photos.

The cabinet card shown at the top of this post is a fairly typical example of the ever-popular family group. I used this as part of the back cover design for my book Alchemists of time. Tracking down details of the studios and photographers who made these cards is not an easy job. Even when we have  the name of the studio on the card it’s more likely than not that the studio disappeared many years ago and often without trace. There are resources that can help but that’s a topic for another post.

It’s always nice to find cards from your own locality, in my case Derby and Nottingham, though the same problems of provenance apply. These two are from Derby, one a portrait of a girl, the other a “candid” shot of a woman sprawled out over chairs. Who said all Victorian portraits involve someone standing straight and with a serious expression?

Rabbit man is one of my personal favourites, this time from a Nottingham studio. I suspect the rabbits were bred to eat rather than being pets but we’ll never know.

Black for mourning is often to be seen as is white (for purity?)

And what’s this dog thinking?

And finally I couldn’t resist inserting myself into a cabinet card, the surround being from a Victorian photo album designed to take cabinet cards.

( If you think you’ve seen or read some of this before it’s quite possible as my former blog imploded so I’ll be recreating entries here).