This is what a happy family looked like way back when. Source: Etsy
Victorian life must have been so much fun: if you weren’t dead or about to die due to infectious diseases, you were always trying to act or at least look that way. That helps explain why, at least in the early days of portrait photography, it was somewhat more socially acceptable to take posed–albeit solemn–pictures with dead bodies than it is today (see: #funeralselfie). Post-mortem portraits were meant to be commemorative, especially in the case of infants and children.