40 Great Portraits of Wales and The Welsh 1865-1885

John Thomas toured Wales taking photographs of the country and its people

“For Wales? Why Richard, it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . but for Wales!”
— Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

 

wales portraits 19th century

Girl with a dog, Llansanffraid – 1885

In the 1860s, John Thomas (1838-1905), a labourer’s son from Cellan, Ceredigion, Wales, worked for a company dealing in writing materials and photographs of famous people. In 1863 Thomas began taking photographs, inviting Welsh preachers of renown to sit for their portraits. His work was a hit. And in 1867 he established his own photographic business, The Cambrian Gallery, taking photographs of Welsh landscapes and people.

Over 3,000 of his negatives was bought by Owen Morgan Edwards (1858 – 1920) to illustrate the magazine Cymru, for which Thomas had supplied images. “You can well understand my joy in receiving an offer of help from Mr John Thomas, in his own modest style,” Edwards wrote. “I knew that no-one has such a complete collection of views of Welsh historic sites. Whenever he visits a particular area, he adds to his collection the picturesque, famous or unusual that he finds there. His rich gallery has been made available to me to use with the warmest of welcomes… It is good to know that the Cambrian Gallery contains a collection of views from nearly every part of Wales, and of the characters who lived in those parts in recent years.”

 

wales portraits 19th century

Jack Jones, Blaenau Ffestiniog and his toothache – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Bet Fach, Llangeitho who is 92 years old – 1885

wales portraits 19th century

wales portraits 19th century

The cobbler, Betws-yn-Rhos – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Sion Sodom, Abersoch – 1885

wales portraits 19th century

Pegi Llwyd, Llangollen – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Modryb Martha, Modryb Nellie a Modryb Gwenno – 1872

wales portraits 19th century

William Bulkeley Hughes MP (1797-1882) – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

The tailor, Bryn-du – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Servant – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

A fisherman – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Town crier, Llanrwst – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Lord Penmachno, father of all the quarrymen – 1885

wales portraits 19th century

wales portraits 19th century

W. Thelwall Thomas and friends – 1882

wales portraits 19th century

Mr Roberts, Newtown harpist] – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Workers at Glyndyfrdwy quarry, Corwen – 1885

wales portraits 19th century

Mr Jones, Lord Mayor of Llansawel – 1885

wales portraits 19th century

Llangeitho – 1885

wales portraits 19th century

Mrs Lewis, Y Borth at 84 years old – 1885

wales portraits 19th century

Mary Parry, Llanfechell – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Elis the pedlar, Llanfair – 1885

wales portraits 19th century

wales portraits 19th century

1885 Sion Catrin ringing the bell, Llanrwst

wales portraits 19th century

wales portraits 19th century

Evan Davies, blacksmith of Llanboidy

D & N Mathew, Crossways, Castellnewydd Emlyn

D & N Mathew, Crossways, Castellnewydd Emlyn – 1885

wales portraits 19th century

Harri Bach, Bodedern – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Business Bob, Llanrwst – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Robin Four, Llanfellech – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Capel Garmon natives – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Cadi’r Big, Y Ro-wen – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Two women standing with Jane Thomas (mother of John Thomas), who is sitting between them – 1867

wales portraits 19th century

Hugh Rees road worker, Tal-y-bont (Ceredigion) – 1885

wales portraits 19th century

Two women in nation dress – 1875

wales portraits 19th century

Morris Babwn, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant – 1885

wales 19th century

Post Office, Llanymddyfri – 1885

wales 19th century

R Evans the wheelwright, Churchstoke – 1885

wales 19th century

c.1885

 

Via: National Library of Wales