In the early 1860s the immense popularity of the "carte-de-visite" provided the spark for the large-scale production of photographic albums. The standard "carte-de-visite" album contained pages of heavy card, overlaid with paper into which windows were cut. More specialized albums had elaborately lithographed pages, as seen in this album where photographs were placed in windows surrounded by floral designs. Such lithographed pages served to embellish the often quotidian quality of many commercial studio photographs. This album belonged to the family of Francis Joseph Lynch, a British-born civil engineer who settled in Ottawa. Portraits of Belgian and Russian soldiers, the Queen of Naples, and Canadian personalities associated with the building of the railroad were likely purchased by Lynch while working on railway projects at home and abroad. Family portraits were made by well-known Canadian photographers William Topley and William Notman.