Phillips, David Rhys

D Rhys Phillips (18621952), was involved in Eisteddfod and Gorsedd committees and was secretary of the Welsh Bibliographical Society from 1907 to 1951.

He appears to have been one of those who were keen to revise the design of the robes worn by the Gorsedd in the 1920s.

Letter from J.R. Jones to D. Rhys Phillips, secretary of the Welsh Biographical Society. J.R. Jones [John Richard Jones] had ‘more or less’ prepared a bibliography on Welsh Costume books (but it is yet to be found).
NLW D.Rhys Phillips, 2444, 29th December 1922

Letters from Miss A.J. Stepney-Gulston to D Rhys Phillips concerning membership of the Robes Committee of the National Eisteddfod, mentioning Lady Howard and Mrs Coombe-Tennant [of Aberpergwm] and including suggestions for creating a costume for boys. Also a sketch of a woman’s costume with a tall hat. 1921-1926
NLW, D. Rhys Phillips 4709-4721

The Bard’s Wardrobe. New Fashions for Gorsedd. The Goidel’s Lead. Should the Welsh wear a Kilt?
By D Rhys Phillips.
The committee appointed at the Caernarfon Eisteddfod of 1921 to consider ways and means of replenishing the stock of Gorsedd Robes have been led by considerations arising out of the reform movement …. precipitated by the actions of that committee at Amanaford last year {when they presented costumes and suggestions and to} gather authentic information respecting the character and historicity of {Welsh and Celtic costumes.}
{Celtic cloaks}
On the Brecon-Glamorgan border is an inscribed stone of ‘a person wearing something in the form of a Kilt’
Costume of Welsh boys
‘In the now very scarce folio of Welsh Women’s costumes which Lady Llanover published in the first half of the last century the patterns varied by counties and other areas. The origin of those styles is somewhat uncertain for the coloured drawings are not accompanied by textual descriptions.’ …
Western Mail, 13.6.1923

The Welshwoman’s costume so far as its materials and colours are concerned may be traced back without doubt to the pre Christian era … Lord Treowen’s grandmother, Lady Llanover, investigated the designs of Welsh Women’s dress as they varied in about 1830 in various parts of Wales and published them in a series of coloured illustrations, which are now very rare. As to women’s hats, the low straw hat, used in the Gower, would seem to be much older than the chimney-pot variety which appears to be more Dutch than Welsh.
Charles Matthews, the comedian testified that when he visited south Wales about 1829, all the women wore the tall hat but by 1870 it had receded from general use and was rarely worn except by farmers’ wives in the heart of the country. [He is quoting from Wirt Sikes, Rambles and Studies in Old South Wales, 1881, pp. 250-251].
The cockle women of Penclawdd were among the picturesque groups who generally wore Welsh costume (to the great delight of English and American visitors up to the war period, after which the material was not available till three or four years ago. As an everyday dress, it has not quite recovered lost ground even in Gower. As a fancy or national dress for special occasions, such as the National Eisteddfod, or the visit of a Royal Princess (for instance at Brecon three weeks ago), and as a costume for ladies’ and children’s choirs it is worn with pride and delight by all classes of society. Mrs Coombe Tennant informs me that from time immemorial, the ladies of Aberpergwm (The Williams family of the Vale of Neath), made it a custom to wear Welsh costume every morning before lunch … and she followed the ancient practice and still loyally clings to it. {There was a suggestion that there be a boys Welsh costume and} Lady Howard Stepney offered a prize at my suggestion, at last year’s National Eisteddfod in Swansea, Miss Stepney-Gulston of Derwydd being chief adjudicator. When a design by a Dunvant lady has been further developed on traditional lines, something useful should emerge. Then the choir boys on one side of the chapel galleries at Morriston will not have cause to cast jealous glances at the costumed Welsh maidens who sit on the other side.
D Rhys Phillips
Ancient Welsh and Celtic Costumes, Radio talk, broadcast 8th April, 1927.
NLW, D Rhys Phillips, 259 (hand written with many corrections), p. 5

Strictly speaking there is no such thing as a Welsh National Costume. The alleged Welsh costume of women favoured at public functions is as inartistic as it is unhistoric. {Includes a drawing of the proposed boys’ costume}
NLW, D Rhys Phillips, 260 (typed and with hand written version, in a different hand, of 259 above)