Tracing the evolution of photography as a scientific process, as well as a social record and a medium for artistic expression.

The exhibition explores the story of the pioneering Dillwyn Llewelyn family, who lived at the Penllergare estate near Swansea in the mid-19th century. In 1839 photography was emerging as a new medium, thanks to processes established by William Henry Fox Talbot and Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, John Dillwyn Llewelyn began to experiment himself and his first daguerreotype was produced in 1840.

Going onto win numerous awards and exhibiting frequently with the Royal Photographic Society, he developed a particular interest in the south Wales landscape. He marvelled: 'when a fine prospect meets your eye you have nothing to do but to stop your carriage, get out your camera, and in a few minutes you may secure a picture, drawn by Nature herself, that would have taken you hours to sketch.'

His sister Mary was also fascinated by the new technology. Capturing images of flowers, animals, family, friends and social activities she became the earliest known female photographer in Wales. Original examples of the siblings' work is shown here, alongside a wider selection of pictures that have been digitised as part of the project.

National Museum Cardiff

Cathays Park, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10 3NP

029 2039 7951


Opening times

Tues – Sun & most Bank Holiday Mondays
10am – 5pm (Galleries close 4.45pm)

Closed 24 – 26 Dec, 1 Jan

Free to all

10% off restaurant

Valid to 31 December 2019

10% off café

Valid to 31 December 2019

Enjoy a range of sandwiches and baguettes, home-made soup, and cakes made from local Welsh ingredients where possible.

10% off shop

Valid to 31 December 2019

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