If you've ever seen the movie The Others you will know about Memorial, or Post Mortem, Photography. It is a portrait taken after death. During Victorian times photography was very costly and required the person to sit motionless for long periods of time. Since a dead person has a tendency to not move (hopefully at least) they make good, albeit creepy, subjects. Most efforts were made to make the dead look alive; that is why some of their eyes are open and they are propped up by living members of their family. Also, most of these are children, probably due to the high mortality rate for children during the Victorian age. If they creep you out I am sorry. Just remember that back then this would have been the only photo ever taken of this person, so to family members it was a way to honor them.