Rock and Co

William Frederick Rock, Stationer and print publisher.
8 Queen Street, London, trading as William and Henry Rock, 1833-1838
11 Wallbrook, London trading as Rock and Co, 1838-1895.

During the 1850s, Rock and Co published a series of bi-lingual prints of Welsh costumes. Most of the women in these are wearing very tall Welsh hats. The women represented are probably from farmers’ rather than labourers’ families, and most of the events depicted are special occasions – biddings, weddings and going to market. They were published in small cheap volumes, sometimes with poor prints of local views. The fact that these were bilingual suggests that they were not just for the English visitors’ market. It seems likely that these were the first mass produced, popular prints of Welsh costume. There is no indication that they represent regional variations of the costume, but the backgrounds include recognisable buildings such as Caernarfon castle. Many of the prints are signed with the monogram TO [Thomas Onwhyn, (1811-1886)]

Although few copies of the booklets of prints produced by Rock and Co. and Newman and Co. have survived, many of the prints were removed from their bindings to be hung on walls or pasted into albums. The same images were printed as transfers on china and as a result became well known.

Rock and Co’s numbered series
1 [Edward Morgan] (Jenny Jones’ fiancé) NLW (102)
2 Jenny Jones
3 Welsh Fisherman with the coracle (a print also dated 5.6.1860) NLW (202)
4 Welsh Peasantry, dated 6.4.1852, (a print also dated 5.6.1860) NLW PB348
5 Priodas yn Nghymru, Returning from the wedding NLW PB1121 (letterhead) (a print dated 1.5.1853)
6 Gwisgo Bedd a Blodau, Dressing the grave with flowers. NLW PD185, NLW 2008, NLW P5890 (a print dated 1.5.1853)
7 [Market Day in Wales] (5 poultry with heads hanging over the edge of the table) (a print dated 1.5.1853)
8 Gwisgiadaw Cymreig – Mode of Carrying infants, NLW PB349 (a print dated 1.5.1853)
9 Hymn Singing. Welsh Chapels NLW PA9107 (a print dated 1.5.1853)
10 Gwisgiadau Cymreig – Return from Market, Gower, Glamorgan dated 1st May 1853 NLW (207)
11 [Coracles] (Fishermen with Coracles, Carmarthenshire) (a print dated 1.5.1853)
12 Neithior yn Nghymru – A Bidding in Wales NLW (39) (a print dated 1.5.1853)
13 Ffair Cyflofi yn Nghymru – or Hiring Fair NLW (183) (a print dated 1.5.1853)
14 Gwisgiadau Cymreig – Hoods & Cloaks, Cardigan NLW P5259 (a print dated 1.5.1853)
15 Welsh Fishwomen, Llangwn, Pembrokeshire [Not bilingual] NLW (108) (a print dated 1.5.1853)
16 Priodas yn Nghymru, A Wedding in Wales (a print dated 1.5.1853)

Un-numbered series, of markets:
Market Day – Glamorganshire, 1.5.1853 (NMW St Fagans 35/17966)
Market, Carmarthen (NMW St Fagans 35/17970)
Tenby Market, (NMW St Fagans 35/17972)

High Street, Cardigan (NMW St Fagans 35/17966)

Other prints, un-numbered:
Rock and Co., Jenny Jones,  dated 20th May 1860 (National Museum of Wales: 32/22,895)
Welsh Peasantry, dated 6th April 1852: 5th June 1860

Albums
Rock and Co published albums of prints:
Tourists in Wales, Pencillings in the Principalities by a Pedestrian Artist, Published by Rock and Co, London,
Consists a series of vignettes by Thomas Onwhyn, c 1850 (NLW PE1207)
1 Tourists
2 Highways
3 The By-Ways
4 Counties in Wales (one woman in costume representing each county)
5 Productions, Antiquities etc
6 Welsh Fairs and Hirings (many women in Welsh hats)
7 Market Day in Wales
8 The Beauties of Wales (many women in Welsh hats)
9 Rivers of Wales
10 The Mountains of Wales
11 The waterfalls
12 Stray Leaves

Other albums:
Rock Brothers and Payne, Sketches of Welsh Costume (1853)
Rock Brothers and Payne, The Queen’s Album of Welsh Costume, [c.1860]
Rock and Co., Views of Aberystwith [including prints of Welsh costume] London, 1869
Rock and Co., The Royal Cabinet Album – Welsh Costumes [n.d]

Rock and Co., The Princess’ Album of Welsh costumes, containing 12 prints of costume, 8 of which had Welsh titles, mostly dated 1.5.1853 (listed in John Richard Jones’ notebooks on Welsh costume etc, NLW)

Rock and Co also published albums of photographs:
Two Hundred and Fifty Views, North Wales published by Rock Bros., Ltd., London. This includes a photograph of a woman (Ann Davies) in Welsh costume as a frontispiece and a page of nine portraits of women in Welsh costume. Eight of these portraits are of women in a farm yard. All are wearing hats with a light-coloured band around the base of the crown  – an ornament which is very rare – the bands are normaly black. One of the women is posing as if gathering eggs. She is wearing a tall Welsh hat which she couldn’t have worn to enter the sheds. One of the photographs is of a pair of women in front of a painted backcloth.

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