Sunday, 23 December 2007

The 1st Derbyshire Rifles - early cabinet card by Keene

In an earlier posting about cabinet cards, I mentioned that although the format was first introduced in the mid-1860s, it did not really catch on until the mid-1870s. It is possible that this was due to its relatively higher price, compared with the carte de visite.

This cabinet card was produced by innovative Derby photographer Richard Keene in August 1874 and, as with many early examples of the format, it actually had the words "Cabinet Portrait" written on the front of the card. The early cabinet card can be identified, in the same manner as its smaller predecessor the carte de visite, by the square corners.

The inscription on the reverse of this fine portrait identifies the three men in military uniform as Officers of the 1st Corps, First Battalion of the Derbyshire Volunteers (1st Derbyshire Rifles): Lieutenant William Bemrose (1831-1908), Captain John Farmer Thirlby (c.1839-) & Lieutenant Henry Monkhouse (1837-1905). William Bemrose was a partner in the printing, publishing and stationery firm, Bemrose & Sons. John F. Thirlby was a bank clerk and secretary of the Derby Gymnasium Club. Henry Monkhouse was a chemist's assistant at the time this portrait was taken.

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