CdV by Disderi
Copyright ©2002 by Rob Niederman - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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The appeal of collecting 19th century photographic apparatus often lies in obtaining items associated with the cameras. Multi-lens, wet collodion plate cameras are interesting and rare finds, but acquiring historically related items helps us understand 'how' and 'why' these cameras were used.

This Carte de Visite is a wonderful find because it comes from the studio of Disderi, the inventor of the Carte de Visite. The reverse is imprinted "
Disderi & Co., Photographes deS M L'Empereur, 8 Boulevart des Italiens Paris."

The image itself is an albumen print and on the back of the card is a handwritten word "Thiers", which could be in reference to the patron's name. A quick dictionary check by Ben Ehrman uncovered Louis Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877), a French statesman and historian; first president of the Third Republic (1871-73). Knowing that the 'calling-card' is from the studio of Disderi is one thing, but having an image of a notable statesman completes the picture. This Carte de Visite can likely be dated as c.1871-73.

Imagine being a patron of Disderi's studio with the prospect of having a 'calling-card' to share with friends and professional associates. It must have been difficult to strike and hold a natural pose because the exposure time was anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. However, Messr. Thiers was able to compose himself in a stately manner and reflect it in this beautiful image.

Finally, the historic picture is complete. The appearance of this calling-card indicates that Disderi was a successful businessman who continued operating a studio for many years after the introduction of the Carte de Visite.
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Source: Collection Of Ben Ehrman
Carte de Visite, c.1871-73
André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri. Paris