Take a look at these little fellows. A small collection of carte de visite by early commercial photographers.
The albumen prints are pasted onto thick board, some gilt-edged, and are richly decorated with type on the reverse:
These were produced at the time when commercial photography was becoming more widely accessible and affordable to the English middle classes, who wished to emulate the aristocracy by commissioning portraits. At Portraits in oils were rather expensive, time consuming affairs, the opportunity to commission a portrait using newly fashionable photographic processes – often having them painted over to resemble an oil painting – was just the thing…
More images of all the cards can be viewed here.