Visiting Card, late 1700s
John Wesley's visiting card. Visiting cards, often referred to in French as 'carte-de-visite', were an essential visiting accessory in polte society of the 1700s and 1800s. The 'caller' would produce a visiting card, usually printed with his or her name, to the maid, housekeeper or butler answering the door. The card would then be taken to the family or resident of the house, who would then ask for the visitor to be admitted.
Visiting cards were often elegantly decorated, especially in the 1800s. John Wesley's, notably, was very plain, its only decoration a faintly gilded edge.