CDV - Post-mortem Photography
This is a post-mortem Carte de Visite (CDV) of a young mother holding her deceased child. The CDV is from the early 1860s.
Taking a photograph of the deceased, especially a child, was common during the early years of photography. It was usually taken to give the appearance that the child was sleeping in his or her mother's lap. At times the child was surrounded by toys or even his or her siblings.
This photograph was not a morbid memory of the child's death; often this was the only photograph taken of the child and was treasured as a remembrance of the child's life. This practice was also known as "memorial portraiture."
The photograph’s backmark reads: "C.WICKES. YORKTOWN, BLACKWATER. Landscape & Architectural Photographer."