20 Images : 16. THE PARISIAN SCHOOL OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, art nouveau seemed to percolate everywhere - whether it was on the signs outside pubs or the lettering on the back of studio mounts. So often with Victorian Carte de Visites and Cabinet Cards, it is the design on the back of the card which is more visually exciting than the face of the sitter on the front of the card. There is an odd contrast between the stern and starched Victorian subjects - the women coated in crinolines, the men framed with beards and whiskers - and the riotous gaiety of the studio details on the back of the card. Here nymphs sprout flowers and typefaces drip with tendrils: this is not the punchy advertising of modern copywriters, but advertising that gently blows on the hairs at the back of your neck.
My image today is taken from the back of just one such Victorian photograph (the subject, alas, is too boring to comment upon), which I bought from a junk shop for a few pence. As the wording says, "Copies can be had at any time": - just right click your mouse and choose "copy".