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Camille Silvy 
Carte de Visite - Monsieur Silvi 
1862, 25 January 
Magazine page 
Google Books 
Published in "Cartes de Visite" by A. Wynter in "Once a Week", Volume 6, Jan. 25, 1862, 134-137. The entire article provides fascinating insights into the London carte-de-visite scene.
Monsieur Silvi appears to have made the carte de visite his special study, and has brought to his task all the resources of an artistic mind. No one knows how much depends upon the photographer, until he compares a good with a bad sun portrait. That sense of beauty and instinctive art of catching the best momentary pose of the body, is a gift which cannot be picked up as a mechanical trade can be. This gift M. Silvi possesses in an eminent degree. And he not only pursues photography as an art, but also as a manufacture; hence the scale and method of his proceedings. A visit of inspection to his studio in Porchester Terrace is full of interest. In walking through the different rooms, you are puzzled to know whether you are in a studio, or a house of business. His photographic rooms are full of choice works of art in endless number; for it is his aim to give as much variety as possible to the accessaries in each picture, in order to accomplish which he is continually changing even his large assortment. Sometimes when a Royal portrait has to be taken, the back-ground is carefully composed beforehand, so as to give a local habitation, as it were, to the figure. The well-informed person, without a knowledge even of the originals, may make a shrewd guess at many of the personages in his book of Royal Portraits by the nature of the accessaries about them. Thus, all the surroundings of the Due de Montpensier's daughter are Spanish, whilst his son's African sojourn is indicated by the tropical scenery. The portraits of members of our own Royal family are surrounded with fitting accessories which stamp their rank. As M. Silvi takes' every negative with his own hand, the humblest as well as the most exalted sitter is sure of the best artistic effect that his establishment can produce. This we feel certain is the great secret of M. Silvi's success, as the skill required in taking a good photograph cannot be deputed to a subordinate. But, as we have said, his house is at the same time a counting-house, a laboratory, and a printing establishment. One room is found to be full of clerks keeping the books, for at the West End credit must be given; in another a score of employes are printing from the negatives. A large building has been erected for this purpose in the back garden. In a third room are all the chemicals fur preparing the plates; and again in another we see a heap of crucibles glittering with silver. All the clippings of the photographs are here reduced by fire, and the silver upon them is thus recovered. One large apartment is appropriated to the baths in which the cartes de visite are immersed, and a feminine clatter of tongues directs us to the room in which the portraits are finally corded and packed up. Every portrait taken is posted in a book, and numbered consecutively. This portrait index contains upwards of 7000 cartes de visite, and a reference to any one of them gives the clue to the whereabouts of the negative. Packed as these negatives are closely in boxes of fifties, they fill a pretty large room. It is M. Silvi's custom to print fifty of each portrait, forty going to the possessor, and ten remaining in stock, as a supply for friends. Sometimes individuals will have a couple of hundred impressions, the number varying, of course, according to the extent of the circle. The tact and aptitude of M. Silvi for portrait taking may be estimated when we inform our readers that he has taken from forty to fifty a day with his own hand. The printing is of course purely mechanical, and is performed by subordinates, who have set afloat in the world 700,000 portraits from this studio alone. 

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