Bedford, Francis

Francis Bedford (1816-1894) travelled around parts of England and Wales during from the 1860s taking good quality stereo photographs of landscapes and buildings which were sold as named and numbered sets. He took about 15 photographs of women in Welsh costumes taking tea at a cricket table outside, or spinning or knitting. These were published as stereographs and small carte de visite and occasionally in published albums of Bedford’s photographs. Some were published by Frith at the end of the century as postcards and some were copied by Levi.

There are concerted attempts to compile a definitive list of Bedford’s photographs. Birmingham Library has an old list of many of the images, as well as separate lists of prints and negatives in their collections while collectors are cooperating with various institutions to add to these lists.


79106_46Stereoscope photograph by Francis Bedford no. 252 ‘Welsh Group, Market Women’. All three are wearing Welsh hats and goffered caps. The woman on the left is wearing a shawl, short bedgown, apron and long skirt. The bedwown has short sleeves with broad striped fabric of another material. She is also wearing separate sleeves. The woman in the middle has a light coloured shawl, short-sleeved bedgown and separate sleeves. The woman on the right is wearing a cloak with large hood. The blanket hanging on the left may be an attempt to hide something behind it. (Ceredigion Museum 1979.106.46)



Postcard, published by Francis Frith, postmarked 1900, based on Francis Bedford’s stereo pair, no. 255 ‘Welsh Group, Market Women, no 2’ (Ceredigion Museum 2000.116.9)







Detail of a stereo photograph of Aberystwyth promenade, about 1860, showing women in Welsh costume selling their produce (eggs, butter, cheese), too sea-side visitors.

‘335 Aberystwyth Marine Terrace looking East’ (Ceredigion Museum : 1979.106.40)



Bedford’s photographs of Welsh costume

This list is probably incomplete: there may be versions of more of the images in both stereograph and carte de visite and some were published in some of Bedford’s printed albums.
number   title
125      Llanberis – Group of three Welsh peasants (stereograph)
126      Llanberis – Group of four Welsh costumes  (stereograph)   later reissued as 1259

252      Welsh Group, Market Women            (stereograph) later reissued as 1254
253      Welsh Group, The Market Stall          (stereograph) later reissued as 1255

254      Welsh Group, Old Women at Tea      (stereograph) later reissued as 1210 and 1249
No. 254 is very similar to two small carte de visites nos. 764 (portrait) and 764A (landscape) with titles in gothic script which are also found on about 10 other carte de visite images of women in Welsh costume, none of which have the name of the photographer recorded on them.

255      Welsh Group, The Spinning Wheel    (stereograph) later reissued as 1252
256      Welsh Group, The Cottage Door         (stereograph) later reissued as 1253

278      Tenby Oysterwomen on the Beach     (stereograph)

1210    Welsh Group, Three Old Women at tea, no 1   (carte de visite, landscape) same as 254 and 1249

The following stereographs were published under the title WELSH COSTUMES

1249    Group, Three Old Women at tea, no 1               (stereograph) same as 254 and 1210

1250    Three Old Women at tea, no 2                             (stereograph)
1250    Welsh Group – Three Old Women at tea, no 2 (carte de visite, landscape)

1251    Three Old Women at Tea, No. 3.                        (stereograph) same as 255

1252    Group – The Spinning Wheel                              (stereograph) same as 255
1252   Welsh Group – The Spinning Wheel                  (carte de visite, portrait) same as 255

1253    Welsh Group – The cottage door                       (carte de visite, landscape) same as 256

1254    Market Women, no 1                                           (stereograph) same as 255
(later produced as a postcard by Francis Frith, no 3255)

1255    Welsh Group, Market Women, no 2.                (carte de visite, portrait)
(later published as a postcard by Francis Frith, no 3256)

1256    Group Market Women no 3                                 (stereograph)
1257    Market Women no 4                                              (stereograph)
1258    Three Welsh Peasants                                           (stereograph) same as 125
1259    Four Welsh Peasants                                             (stereograph) same as 126

1917    Devil’s Bridge, Women at Tea no 5 (Three women seated around a table)

1918    Devil’s Bridge, Spinning. (Three woman by a spinning wheel and niddy-noddy)

1971      Welsh Costume [Welsh Group, Tan y Bwlch]         glass negative in Birmingham Library
same as 3149?
3149 Welsh Group, Tan y Bwlch Cabinet print, Bedford’s manuscript list
same as 1971?

One carte de visite is marked ‘Ellen Pritchard / Age 74 years, 1890’. This is probably a widowed ‘Lodge Keeper’ living with her son and his family at Ffestiniog in Meirionnydd. (Thanks to Paul Frecker)

Postcard published by The Graphotone Co., Enfield, Middlesex, no 6886, similar  to Bedford no. 1972







1972      “Welsh Costume [Mrs Pritchard (sits)]”  glass negative in Birmingham Library
same as 3150
1973      Welsh Costume [Mrs Pritchard (standing)]   glass negative in Birmingham Library
same as 3151?

3150 Welsh Costumes. Mrs Pritchard (sits) Cabinet print, Bedford’s manuscript list
same as 1972
3151 Welsh Costumes. Mrs Pritchard (standing) Cabinet print, Bedford’s manuscript list
same as 1973

3124      Welsh women at tea              Cabinet print, Bedford’s manuscript list
3125      Welsh peasants (3)              Cabinet print, Bedford’s manuscript list
3126      Tenby Oyster women (3)          Cabinet print, Bedford’s manuscript list
3127      Tenby Oyster women (4)          Cabinet print, Bedford’s manuscript list

3255      Welsh group. Market women       Cabinet print, Bedford’s manuscript list
3256      Welsh group. The spinning wheel Cabinet print, Bedford’s manuscript list

Some stereoscopic photographs were advertised (as an insert) in T.O. Morgan’s Aberystwyth and its Environs, (3rd edition, 1858), List of Stereoscopic Views of Aberystwyth and Neighbourhood, sold by J.Cox, 30 Pier Street. Also a large assortment of Stereoscopic Views of other Welsh Scenery, Welsh Costumes etc. These might have been by Bedford, William A. Pumphrey of York (1817-1905) or possibly Alfred Pumphrey of Birmingham, (1830-1913).