Hall’s Book of South Wales

Mr and Mrs S.C. Halls’ Book of South Wales, the Wye and the Coast (1861) (with facsimile reprints in 1979 and 1980)
This extensive account of a tour of south Wales contains 250 engravings after pictures by J.D. Harding, F.W. Hulme, E.M. Wimperis, W.S. Coleman, E.A Brooke, D.H. McEwen, Commander May and Birket Foster. Amongst these are 12 prints which illustrate women in Welsh hats.

This account, with all the illustrations was previously published in 11 parts in The Art Journal in 1859 as ‘Excursions
in South Wales’ and in 1860 in 12 parts as ‘The Companion Guide (by Railway) in South Wales’.

What is unusual about this collection is the number of illustrations showing Welsh hats, and of these, several showing women in the field or at the beach (with women gathering oysters and mussels): these are almost the only known pictures of women at their normal work, other than going to or from market with their wares for sale which is the subject of most of the other pictures. However, it is only the women at market who wear shiny hats: the remainder look as if the hats are either old and battered or of felt.

p. 160, ‘Magor’, by E.M Wimperis, Woman in Welsh hat carrying sticks

p. 194, ‘Cardiff Bridge’, Woman in Welsh hat talking to a labourer

p. 240, ‘Castle Coity’, Woman in Welsh hat carrying basket (to or from market?).

p. 252, ‘Llantwit Major’, Two women in Welsh hat seated on stools by baskets, presumably selling their wares; other women in the background, in cloaks and Welsh hats.

p. 260, ‘Llanfihangel Manor’, Woman in Welsh hats seated on horse, probably going to market


p. 300, ‘Going to Market’, Seated in a cart is a young woman in a shiny Welsh hat and an older woman in a lower hat with broad brim, followed by a woman carrying a basket on her head and a Welsh hat hanging from her belt. On the path behind them is a woman in a Welsh hat carrying a box, followed by another woman carrying goods in a basket with a Welsh hat slung from her waist. Behind them is another woman in a Welsh hat.


p. 301, ‘At Market’ A woman in a rather floppy Welsh hat, seated by a basket of turnips.

p. 302, ‘The Market’, Nine women in Welsh hats, some serving at a stall selling cheese, poultry and bread, with a woman in a bonnet considering purchasing something. In the background are other women in Welsh hats and long hooded cloaks, with another on horseback carrying a basket.

p. 313, ‘Mussel Gatherers’, Seven women in a variety of hats including one in a rather dented Welsh hat, another in a low hat with broad brim.

p. 315, ‘Oyster Woman’ Woman in Welsh hat with basket in hand and another on her back.

p. 370, ‘Gronger Hill’, Woman in a Welsh hat chatting to a labourer (in a smock).

p. 460, ‘Lamphey Palace’ Two women in Welsh hats with baskets, with hay being gathered in the background. Perhaps they have brought a meal for the labourers.

The volume also contains an illustration of four women and two men entitled Pit Hands. The women have a variety of headgear, but not Welsh hats (p. 282).