Press Release: 18/07/2006

An exhibition of Victorian cartes-de-visite by local photographers will take place at Winchester City Council's Historic Resources Centre in Hyde from 19 July 2006 to 29 December 2006. The collection of these visiting cards, some measuring only 2 ½ x 4 inches, became a major craze in the Victorian era. Invented by Andre Disdéri in Paris, people flocked to have their portraits taken in the photographic studios which sprang up throughout Europe.

Within Winchester Museums' unique photographic archive is a notable collection of cartes-de-visite taken by Winchester photographers showing both local people and local views. The Cartomania exhibition will focus on these photographers and their studios. Also included are cartes-de-visite from several private collections.

Consisting of a total of 105 photographs, subjects explored range from fashion to portraits, and from outdoor activities to local street scenes and buildings. In England, the collecting of family and celebrity portraits, and well known locations, became a pastime enjoyed from the middle classes to royalty, with Queen Victoria herself a notable collector of the visiting cards.

Karen Parker, curator of the exhibition, commented, "This is the first time cartes-de-visite have been exhibited in Winchester and this is a once in a lifetime chance to see these unique and rare images."

Karen has been assisted in putting together the exhibition by Johanna Cruickshank who is following an MA in Museum Studies at Textile Conservation Centre in Winchester which is part of Southampton University's School of Art.

The William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles has generously agreed to the inclusion in the exhibition of a copy image from its photographic collection. The original is a rare carte-de-visite of Oscar Wilde taken by Winchester photographer William Savage in his studio garden during the 1870s

Cllr Patricia Stallard, the City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport said, "This is a wonderfully interesting exhibition and I am especially keen to see the Oscar Wilde image taken by a local man."

Opening hours of Historic Resources Centre exhibition are Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 4.30pm.