Category Archives: CDVs

1870s-80s Hannover Gentleman

Hannover CDV. Private Collection.

Hannover CDV. Private Collection.

A nice sepia three-quarter portrait of a handsome blonde man with the slicked back hair and pouty lips. His bowtie looks particularly elegant. It looks made of silk, and so do his coat and waistcoat.

The round edge card’s back is mint green with simple lettering, dating it to around the 1880s most likely. The wide lapels look 1870-ish to me.

F. Wunder Sohn. Hannover.

F. Wunder Sohn. Hannover.

Photographer: F. Wunder Sohn. Hannover, Schillerstrasse 24. Germany.


That American Banjo Player

Banjo player and friend. CDV. Private Collection.

Banjo player and friend. CDV. Private Collection.

This CDV is cut all around, and there is no photographer info. A shame but the seller is based in England and he did say he got this one locally. There is no way to know the exact provenance of this photograph, but chances are the banjo player was an American musician visiting England. Notice his mismatched suit – very New World. Maybe he was posing with his British friend who would not dress so casually!

They have boutonniere flowers on the lapels. This was taken at a formal event sometime in the 1890s or 1900s, maybe at a wedding.


The German man with the scarred cheek

Scarred cheek German man. CDV. Private Collection.

Scarred cheek German man. CDV. Private Collection.

This German man may have been a veteran soldier in civilian suit. Something got him good on the side of the face, perhaps a knife. I’m thinking he was a soldier for the ribbon across the chest. He’s also wearing the black visor hat I mentioned before that was so popular in Germany at the time, and both worn by boys and men.

The bottom of the card was clipped to fit into an album. I can’t make out the message or handwritten name, only the year: 1910.

cdv-scarred-german-back

Photographer: Carl Thies. Hannover. Germany


The fire’s still burning bright in this old man

Old smiling man. CDV. Private Collection.

1870’s old smiling man from Algona, Iowa. Burlingame. CDV. Private Collection.

The oldest sitter in my collection!  He must have been in his 70’s or 80’s at the time of this picture, always a feat at a time when the average lifespan was much shorter. I find it fascinating to think this man was born in or around 1800. I cannot begin to imagine what his life was like, the changes he witnessed, what he had seen and experienced, good or bad, and after all that for him to smile like this. So unusual too for a carte de visite of the period.

He looks like someone who led a very fulfilling life. There is fire and a zest for life in his piercing eyes old age did not manage to dim. And to complement the effect he still had a headful of thick, snowy white hair.

There is a different kind of true beauty that transcends age and is deeper than the fleeting skin-deep one of youth; this content looking, dignified old man is proof. (I bet though, that he was quite the gentleman in his younger days too!)

I love his generous neck scarf too, the way he tied it in a nice bow.

CDV back

CDV back

Photographer: D.W. Burlingame’s. Fine Art Gallery, Algona. Iowa.


Clear blues within a frame, within a frame -and a theory on those unbuttoned waistcoats of the Civil War era

Carte de visite. J.W. Gould. Ohio. Private Collection.

1860’s Carte de visite. J.W. Gould. Ohio. Private Collection.

A handsome sitter from the 1860’s with very light blue eyes!  Several points to make about this portrait:

I like that the picture was framed within the border lines of this carte de visite.

Also, the way he tied his neck ribbon is interesting.

And he chose to open his waistcoat with the top and bottom still buttoned, like many Civil War soldiers did on the pictures of the era…Was he a veteran in civilian suit? A good chance, the lines and corners of this CDV date this picture to be between 1864 and 1869. The next decade saw the rise of a civilian fashion trend where men wore their coat with the top buttoned but not the bottom.  The thought behind it was to show the waistcoat, but I have a theory on it. I think the trend emerged out of respect for soldiers whose uniforms were standard issued and were too small for their frame…For example, the trend of bushy beards became popular with mature Victorians when they wished to imitate the soldiers who fought the Crimean war. I believe people were looking up to those brave boys and adopted their style…so why not the way a coat or waistcoat is buttoned?

Photographer: J.W. Gould. Main Street. Carrollton, Ohio.


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