A Collection of Victorian “Carte de Visites”

The carte de visite was a type of small photograph which was patented in Paris by photographer André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri in 1854.  It was a small, cheap portrait format which made photography available to the masses.

It was usually made of an albumen print, which was a thin paper photograph mounted on a thicker paper card.

The Carte de Visite was slow to gain widespread use until 1859, when Disdéri published Emperor Napoleon III’s photos in this format. This made the format an overnight success.

The new invention was so popular it was known as “cardomania”and it spread throughout Europe and then quickly to America and the rest of the world.

The immense popularity of these card photographs led to the publication and collection of photographs of prominent persons.

Each photograph was the size of a visiting card, and such photograph cards were traded among friends and visitors.

Albums for the collection and display of cards became a common fixture in Victorian parlors.

By the early 1870s, cartes de visite were supplanted by “cabinet cards,” which were also usually albumen prints, but larger, mounted on cardboard backs.

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Contemporary carte de visite, 1860s via

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Victorian carte de visite circa 1880s via

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One of the first cartes de visite of Queen Victoria taken by photographer John Jabez Edwin Mayall via

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Napoléon III and his wife Eugenie, cartes de visite by Disderi, circa 1865 via

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Carte de visite photograph of Ella Wesner, circa 1872, the most celebrated male impersonator of the Gilded Age Vaudeville circuit. via

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 1860s original/vintage albumen carte de visite of a lovely young California bride in her flowing white wedding dress taken by the pioneer daguerreotypist from San Francisco, William Shew via

Queen Victorias Wedding 10th of February 1840

Queen Victoria first met her German cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1836, and they became engaged during his second visit to England in 1839. Their wedding ceremony took place on 10 February 1840 at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.

Queen Victoria chose to marry Prince Albert in a white silk satin gown featuring Honiton lace, an unusual color choice for bridal gowns at the time; she started the white wedding gown tradition that remains today. On her wedding morning, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal:

Dressed….I wore a white satin gown with a very deep flounce of Honiton, imitation of old. I wore my Turkish diamond necklace and earrings, and Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch.

She also wore a wreath of orange blossoms (symbolising purity) and myrtle (symbolising love and domestic happiness), and these became the most common flowers carried and worn in Victorian weddings.

Their wedding day itself was inauspicious, a heavy rain falling; but immense multitudes assembled to gaze upon the processions. The bridal procession from Buckingham Palace to St. James’s begun to move through the triumphal arch at 12 o’clock. It was the first wedding of a reigning Queen in England since 1554.

Queen Victoria spent the evening after her wedding lying down with a headache, but wrote ecstatically in her diary:

I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!

Her marriage to Prince Albert brought nine children between 1840 and 1857. Most of her children married into other Royal families of Europe.

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Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their return from the marriage service at St James’s Palace, London, 10th February 1840. Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock via

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A middle aged Victoria and Albert recreate their wedding day via

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Wedding Photos (1947)

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wedding photos, November 20, 1947 via

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wedding photos, November 20, 1947 via

Wedding of Pola Negri and Prince Serge Mdivani (1927)

Pola Negri (1897 – 1987) was a Polish stage and film actress who achieved worldwide fame during the silent and golden eras of Hollywood and European film for her tragedienne and femme fatale roles. She was reportedly Valentino’s lover until his death in 1926 – at the time of his death and for the remainder of her life, Negri would claim Valentino was the love of her life.

Negri and Princw Serge Mdivani were married on 14 May 1927 (less than nine months after Valentino’s death); they were married in the little hamlet of Seraincourt in. When she lost her fortune in the Stock Market Crash of 1929, he abandoned her and took up with opera singer Mary McCormic, who divorced him in a highly publicized trial.

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Pola and Serge in their wedding day 4 May 1927 via

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Photo Shows Pola and Serge, with Prince Gregory Mdivani (center), father of the Groom, and Mr. Clifford B. Harmon, the best Man, at the right, in back of the Groom, shortly after the ceremony was performed via

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Pola and Serge in their wedding day 4 May 1927 via

Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim at their wedding in Las Vegas (1965)

Jane Fonda married her first husband, French film director Roger Vadim, on August 14, 1965, at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. During their marriage Vadim would accompany her back to the US periodically while she made movies there. The couple had a daughter, Vanessa, born on September 28, 1968, in Paris, France, and named after the actress and activist Vanessa Redgrave.

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Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda wedding, 1965 via

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Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim at their wedding in Las Vegas by Dennis Hopper, 1965 via

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Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda wedding, 1965 via

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Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim at their wedding in Las Vegas by Dennis Hopper, 1965 via

Maria’s Wedding Dress: Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music (1965)

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The Wedding Dress from The Sound of Music  via

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The Wedding Dress from The Sound of Music via

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The Wedding Dress from The Sound of Music via

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The Wedding Dress from The Sound of Music  via

Raquel Welch & Patrick Curtis 1967 Paris Wedding

For her second marriage (she was married to James Welch from 1959 to 1964), US actress  Raquel Welch wore a sexy crochet dress for her wedding to Hollywood producer Patrick Curtis. She teamed her dress with a three-quarter length white fur coat.

They married at the City Hall of Paris 8th district 14 February 1967.

They divorced in 1972. In 1980, she began a 10-year marriage to André Weinfeld. Welch wed Richard Palmer in 1999 but then separated from him in 2008. Welch has stated that she doesn’t intend to marry again.

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Raquel Welch wearing a crochet dress to her 1967 marriage to Patrick Curtis via

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Raquel Welch wearing a crochet dress to her marriage to Patrick Curtis, 1967 via

PARIS, FRANCE: US actress Raquel Welch and her new-wed husband US producer Patrick Curtis take a walk in Paris' streets 14 February 1967. They have married the same day at the City Hall of Paris 8th district. (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
Raquel Welch  walking the streets of Paris wearing a crochet dress after her marriage to Patrick Curtis, 1967 via