prints

Early Mass-produced prints

A set of 13 prints of Welsh costume were produced in 1834. There were probably sponsored by Augusta Hall (Lady Llanover) as fashion plates for her friends who were expected to wear Welsh costume at the balls that she organised as part of the Abergavenny Eisteddfodau, and for her servants to wear as part of their duties in her houses.

The Illustrated London News, first published in 1842, included engravings of Welsh costume to illustrate articles on events such as Royal visits and the opening of railway stations.

The magazine Punch (1841-2002) and the Welsh language equivalent Y Punch Cymraeg (published 1858-1864) also included several engravings of Welsh costume. In both of these, the costume, especially the hat, were used to symbolise Wales.

High quality, large format prints were produced by John ‘Cambrian’ Rowland, R. Griffiths and Hugh Jones, mostly of mid and north Wales subjects during the early 1850s. These show working women (farm servants and those who sold their goods at market) who wore bedgowns, mostly of the V-necked type with large collars and more prosperous women who could afford Welsh hats, fine shawls, dresses and umbrellas. The latter could afford not to have to take goods to market but carried a small shopping bag with them. In general, the older women of this class were still in the habit of knitting, while the younger ones did not need to.

Two firms produced large numbers of prints of Welsh costume. They were Newman and Co., and Rock and Co. both of London. These were occasionally in large format, but more often produced as small, poor quality, cheap prints.