Scope and Contents
Each card measures about 5.75 x 9 cm., engraved image on the recto with ‘Rock & Co., London’ in the image, on 19 cards, two cards have J. S & Co., London, below the image. Verso blank. Many of the 21 cards have a printed series number, the highest being 101, the other number no higher than 48. Three cards have no number. The cards by J.S have the numbers 4 and 5, so they may have been part of a smaller series. 'J. S.' are the initials of J. Simmons.
Among the group four cards have a hand-stamped retailer’s name on the verso, ‘W. Weddell 48, South Bridge Edinburgh’. The Scottish Book Trade Index records Weddell working out of 48 South Bridge between 1850-70.
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of visit.
Biographical / Historical
Comic visiting cards by Rock & Co., London, and by J.S. & Co., London, caricature the photographic carte-de-visite which had been made popular by the photographer Mayall of London around 1860 with his portraits of the Royal Family. This small collection of 21 cards is a wonderful snapshot of 1860s Victorian fashion (crinoline dresses etc.) and love of photography/carte de visites. Other subjects are animals, with two of these showing a dog and cart and a donkey and cart. The captions on them read, 'Cartes de Visite are now la mode, I call with mine at your abode', and 'Cartes de Visite are quite a passion, And every Donkey is in the fashion'. A card featuring a woman in her confortable parlour, reads 'Cartes de Visite foa Lady who would be happy to do your mending'. A card showing a man dressing, reads 'Cartes de Visite of a Gentleman who wants his buttons attended to'.
Such cards are scarce, they appear not to have been popular or collected at the time and even now collectors are said only to seek carte-de-visites if they are photographic. The Victoria and Albert Museum records a handful of cards from the Rock series in their collection.