The young woman above is wearing a skirt that matches the flag behind her. She’s also wearing ribbons on her shoulders, bodice and waist. But which flag is it? From 1807 until 1953, the flag of Wales was white with a red dragon at the center.
The cabinet card was made by Alfred Betts (1829-1890) of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. In the census of 1861, he was described as a Photographic Artist. He and his wife, Zilpah (Carr), had two children. In the census of 1871, he was described as an Artist, which would have encompassed photography. At this time he and Zilpah had seven children. In the census of 1881, Alfred was described as a Photo Artist. His oldest son had moved out, but he and Zilpah still had nine children at home. Alfred died in 1890.
I’d guess that this portrait dates to the 1890s. The website Victorian Professional Photographers in Wales 1850-1925 contains records of photographs produced at the Betts family studio under the name Alfred Betts until at least 1901. A family tree on Ancestry indicates that at least three sons became photographers: Alfred Alexander Betts (1858-1928), Samuel Henry Betts (1861-1920) and Edwin Ernest Betts (1870-1947). However, Alfred Alexander moved to Derbyshire in 1881 and Samuel Henry emigrated with his wife to Pennsylvania around 1887. Perhaps Edwin Ernest maintained the studio in Merthyr.
Now, how about that flag?