Early Photos

Like his contemporary Charles Darwin, John Dillwyn Llewelyn (1810-1882) was a man of independent means and had a strong enthusiasm for nature. He also became actively involved with local affairs, qualified as a magistrate and was made High Sheriff of the County of Glamorgan.

johndillwyn_thoughful  th-3   th-1

He began making photographs in 1839, helped by his wife’s cousin William Talbot who pioneered the use of an intermediate negative in the process. Later he used daguerreotypes but didn’t take really good pictures until the 1850s. He used wet collodion on glass as the negatives and then made albumen prints.

th-2  th

(The Deer)             (1854-Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November)

Now, Llewelyn’s great great grandchildren have a box of the photographs,the basis of a new book by N Chanan: The Photographer of Penllergare (Impress 2013). Llewelyn photographed the moon, snow flakes, animals and many plants. For most of his pictures he used a camera with an ‘instantaneous’ shutter. It took photographs in less than a minute of exposure.