Rare old Photos Show how People Lived in the 1850s

The year that marked the middle of the 19th century was a turning point for most of the world ― just two years before, Europe was tangled in a series of revolutions that announced the age of absolute monarchs was over, and the age of national states was coming. Besides political turmoil, the economy was also transitioning between the First and the Second Industrial Revolution.

With the end of the 18th century came the radical improvement of manufacture in countries such as England and France. Following this breakthrough, by the mid-19th century, Germany and Italy, as well as the United States, were quickly catching up and becoming the economic power-houses in their own right.

Candle seller in front of the cathedral, Chartres, France. Photograph taken by Charles Nègre, 1851.

G. Roman, Self Portrait, 1851.

Three Chimney Sweeps on the Quai de Bourbon, Paris, circa 1851.

The Chimney Sweeps by Charles Nègre, circa 1851-2.

A Moorish Woman with her Maid

Captain Hawkes and his Daughters, circa 1850. Salted paper print from a Calotype negative reimagined. Attributed to Scottish photographer Thomas Rodger (1832 – 1883).

Carriage and team of two horses at Beaulieu, country house of Jean-Gabriel Eynard. Daguerreotype, circa 1850.

‘The Vampire’ – Painter/photographer Henri Le Secq poses behind a gargoyle of Notre-Dame de Paris. Photograph taken by Charles Nègre, 1853.

The Chattar Manzil Palace and the Royal Boat of Oude on the Gomti River in Lucknow, India. Photograph taken by Felice Beato, 1858. Albumen silver print.

Sculpture gallery in the “Crystal Palace”, London World’s Fair, 1851.

The Geography Lesson, 1851. Image from stereoscopic daguerreotype by Jean Francois Antoine Claudet.

Le joueur d’orgue de barbarie et deux enfants (The Barrel Organ Player With Two Children Listening). Photograph taken by Charles Nègre in the backyard of his workshop at 21 Quai de Bourbon, on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris, circa 1853.

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