I found this memento mori photo on eBay (whilst actually looking for shoes, the algorithms clearly knowing what I like) and it’s still for sale at the current time.
This poor chap was only 34 when he died in Paris in 1885. The seller has helpfully included a photo of the back of the print, which tells us that the deceased was one Alfred Jules Montel – I’ve had a quick google but can’t find any further details, not helped by the fact that there were clearly a lot of Montels in the area around that time.
It’s strange to think that any one of us could have ancestors whose memento mori photos are doing the rounds like this. Names and home towns change so much over the generations that whenever I post up a new photo a little part of me wonders whether the person’s descendants could be reading, completely oblivious to the fact they’re staring at Great Aunt Bess or whatever. It’s a strange world.
Unless otherwise specified, I do not own the images published on The Skull Illusion – I merely collect and collate them. The vast majority of memento mori photographs are long out of copyright, but I am always happy to credit where necessary, if I am provided with background information.