Original Victorian pencil cartoon by E. R. White, titled 'Photo-"Graphic Rivalry"', depicting neighbouring photographers attempting to sell cartes de visite to a figure resembling John Bull.

E. R. White, Victorian cartoonist [early photography; nineteenth century cartes de visite]
Publication details: 
Dated by White to January 1862.
SKU: 13591

On 20 x 24 cm piece of thick laid paper. A spirited and highly-finished cartoon, apparently unpublished. The two photographers have emerged from neighbouring doorways to solicit a portly Englishman, attired like John Bull, who holds his hands up in a gesture of exasperation or refusal. He is accompanied by a young boy, hands in pockets. The photographer on the left is dressed in the French or Italian style, back to the viewer, waving his cartes de visite around. Above his doorway are the words 'PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTIST', and to its left a sign headed 'CARTS [sic] DE | VISITE | YOUR | PORTRATE [sic] | 3D.' The right-hand photograph, standing in the middle of the picture in an artist's cap, is more reserved, pointing to a single carte de visite. Above his door is: 'JENKINS | NO CONNECTION WITH | THE MAN NEXT DOOR'. It may be that the cartoon caricatures specific individuals, or refers to a particular rivalry (between individuals, associations or nations) now obscure. In any event, it is an amusing and assured production, gently satirising the 'art claims of photography'. There is no record of it having been published, and nothing has been discovered regarding its author.