A collection of Victorian cartes de visite by a variety of Jersey photographers

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Victorian cartes de visite

The collection of cartes de visite on this page which came up for auction in May 2014 spans the period from 1858 to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, and represents 21 different Jersey-based photographic businesses.

One wonders how many of today's digital family photographs will still be available 100 to 150 years from now.

So many of the formal portraits which so many affluent middle-class Victorian families had taken of themselves (the price was way beyond the working classes) have survived, and collectively they paint a fascinating picture of the times.

Some of the poses are very stiff, but it must be remembered that the earlier the photograph was taken, the longer the sitter would have been required to remain motionless to allow the camera to capture the image.

By the time Julian B Maguire, one of whose portraits is shown below, was trading from 1 Newtown Buildings David Place between 1881 and 1899, electric lighting was available and he was able to offer his clients photographs 'taken at night or in any weather'. To reinforce the point he renamed his business, which had been Rembrandt Studio, the Electric Light Studio.

As can be seen below, some of the photographers produced very simple prints, others embellished the fronts of the cartes de visite with their name in fancy script, and used the back to promote their business and the awards they had obtained.

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