Capitalizing on the popularity of calling cards in the mid-1800s, the French photographer A.A.E. Disdéri seized upon the idea of pasting photographs to small cards. Cheap to produce, the carte-de-visite instantly became a popular form of portraiture during the 1850s and 60s. Images of celebrities and performers were in high demand and it was not unusual for a collector to assemble a group of such cards in one large album. Among the various dancers shown here is the noted ballerina Marie Petipa.