Historic Photography Uncovered

National Museum Cardiff

24 January – 19 April 2015

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.

Venue information

Opening times

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

Closed 24 – 26 Dec, 1 Jan

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)