Victorian Death Photos or Post-Mortem Photography was a Victorian Era tradition (most common in Europe) in which portraits (often family portraits) were taken of the recently deceased. The invention of the daguerreotype (the first photographic process to come into widespread use) in 1839 made it easier for families who wanted to remember their loved ones after they have passed.
Photography was not as common, simple and affordable as it is today so having a photo of a loved one was much more special. In some cases, these morbid death photos were the only family portraits they had.
It was an age of high infant mortality rates - and children were often shown in repose on a couch or in a crib, sometimes with toys or dolls, while adults were more commonly posed in chairs.
Sometimes the subject’s eyes were propped open or the pupils were painted onto the print to give the effect they were alive.
In early images, a rosy tint was added to the cheeks of corpses.
In some pictures, you can hardly tell these people are dead.