Early on, imprints were simply one or tow lines giving the name and location of the photographer.

Later imprints show a great variety and richness of ornamentation.

dating cdv photos-85

The conclusion we came to was that this was an older ambrotype or daguerreotype image copied onto the cabinet card.

Photographers started offering copying services in the 1860s and 1870s as cameras and lenses improved in quality.

The "wet-plate" negative contributed greatly to the increase in copying over the daguerreotype, which required making a photograph of the original photograph (rephotographing) the original for each copy.

A carte de visite can usually be dated to within two years through an understanding of it's features.

Gallery operators replenished their supply of card stock about every six months and card manufacturers encouraged this demand by brining out a new line of decorative cards each year.

Because of this constant change, a card mount offers the best clue to when a carte de visite image was made.

Note that dating the mount does not necessarily date the image.

The photographer may have been using up old card stock.

Many photographers advertised their copying services. This carte de visite is typical of the 1860s illustrating the double gilt rules and square corners characteristic of the period. The "sepia" look of the image comes from a natural yellowing of the original yellowish-brown image tone, which is imparted through "gold-toning" and by the albumen paper.