Bibliography of all key publications and some manuscripts relating to Welsh costume. In chronological order.
The National Library of Wales’ catalogue and schedules have been searched for relevant words in both Welsh and English. There are also, no doubt, many magazine articles on the subject, based on the articles listed below or on personal views.
It will be noted that there were almost no academic articles on Welsh costume until after 1948
18th and 19th Century
Over 70,000 words describing or commenting on Welsh costume have been transcribed by Michael Freeman, following examination of over 1000 diaries and journals of visitors to Wales (many unpublished), guide books, directories and official reports.
The earlier references tend to be by men and are brief, specific and published; women’s accounts are generally longer but normally unpublished.
W.H. Pyne, The Costume of Great Britain, 1805
Includes an illustration and description of Welsh women washing.
Aspin, Jehoshaphat, Cosmorama; a view of the Costumes and Peculiarities of all Nations, (London : Harris, [n.d.], 1826 / 18270, p. 90; New edition, 1834, p. 42)
Contains descriptions of the costumes of many parts of the world, illustrated with prints (but no illustration of Welsh costume). The description of Welsh costume is half the length of thse for Scotland and Ireland. Presumably he derived much of what he said from secondary sources.
Thomas Jeffrey Llewelyn Prichard, The Adventures and Vagaries of Twm Shon Catti; Descriptive of Life in Wales, 1828
Prichard catalogued Augusta Hall’s library in the late 1820s and may have influenced Augusta Hall through his novel in which he described regional costumes.
Augusta Hall (Lady Llanover, 1802-1896), (1836)
Y Traethawd Buddugol ar y Buddioldeb a Ddeillia Oddiwrth Gadwedigaeth y Iaith Gymraeg, a Dullwisgoedd Cymru gan Gwenynen Gwent (Mrs Hall, o Lanofer) / On the Advantages Resulting from the Preservation of the Welsh Language and the National Costumes of Wales. Entered as an essay in a competition for the Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod, Cardiff, 1834.
Welsh costume is hardly described: the essay concentrates on the preservation of the Welsh language and suggests that the Welsh woollen industry should be supported by wearing Welsh woollen fabrics, which she considered superior to English cottons.
Series of watercolours of Welsh costumes, a few signed by A Cadwallader / Cadwalader said to be produced for Augusta Hall (Lady Llanover). NLW DV299, (PA8137). 13 of these were published as prints (1834 – 1835). Publisher unknown.
The Rev John Blackwell, (Alun), curate of Holywell and Rector of Manordeifi, wrote an essay for the Gwent and Dyfed Eisteddfod, Cardiff, 1834. On the Advantages Resulting from the Preservation of the Welsh Language and the National Costumes of Wales.) which was published in Beauties of Alun; being the Literary Remains, in Welsh and English, of the late The Rev John Blackwell, B.A., Ruthin and London, 1851, edited by G. Edwards (Gutyn Padarn). It was also published in The Cambrian Journal, (Cambrian Institute), Tenby, 1861, pp. 26-38, in which it was prefaced by the following: ‘We reprint the following essay by the late eminent Bard and Scholar, Blackwell; especially as it furnishes valuable information on a subject that is engaging a good deal of the public attention just now, that is, the National Costume of the Welsh.’ The essay describes women’s costume in some detail, noting regional variations, and praises it for its simplicity and warmth and for the fact that it is home produced. For these reasons, the writer recommends that it is retained as a national costume.
Planché, J.R., (1834), A History of British Costume from Ancient Times to the Eighteenth Century.
Has many chapters on costume of Britain from earliest times to about 1800, and chapters on the National Costume of Scotland and Ireland, but not for Wales.
Egerton, Mary Margaret, (Countess of Wilton), The Book of Costume (London : H. Colburn, 1846; another edition 1847) Describes the costumes in many parts of the World, including England, Scotland and Ireland, but the chapter on Wales (pp. 190-191) is the shortest of all. Other than a sketch of a bare-footed woman wearing a Welsh hat, but otherwise covered by a cloak, she suggests that Welsh costume is like that of Ireland, and she quotes Bingley (1804) “The women wear long blue cloaks …”
There are three 19th century books which describe contemporary costume in some detail but contain generalisations.
Hall, Mr and Mrs, The Book of South Wales, the Wye, and the coast, (1861), pp. 186-7, 300-301.
Sikes, Wirt, (1836-1883, American Consul in Cardiff, 1876-1883)
Rambles and Studies in Old South Wales, (1881) Reprinted by Stewart Williams, Barry, 1973, pp p. 50-52, 216, 250-251. This was based on his illustrated articles published in American magazines such as Harpers and some have been republished in ‘Exploring The Wild Welsh Coast 100 Years Ago’ edited by Stuart D Ludlum, (Thames and Hudson 1985)
Marie Trevelyan, Glimpses of Welsh Life and Character (1893), (pp. 170-171) but it is quite clear that her descriptions of Welsh costumes were based on T. J. Llewelyn Prichard, Twm Shon Catti (Aberystwyth, 1828), pp. 47-48. Marie Trevelyan (b. 1853) is the pen name of Emma Mary Thomas, daughter of a stonemason of Llantwit Major in South Glamorgan. She went to live in France in 1880 but in 1898 she returned to Llantwit Major.
Lacy, T.H., (editor) Female Costumes, Historical, National, Dramatic in 200 plates. (London, 1865). This includes a print of ‘A Welch Girl’ (plate 122).
Raglan, Lord, London Mystery Magazine, date unknown Article said to be on the origins of the Welsh hat
Preparations for Suffragette demonstration on 17th June, 1911. Welsh contingents organised by Mrs Mansell-Moullin of London and Miss Rachel Barrett of Cardiff. Welsh women were encouraged to wear old national costume, make their own or buy a modern version (from Mrs Phillips of Cardiff which cost from 7/6d excluding the hat). There are brief descriptions of costume and how to make a Welsh hat in Votes for Women, from 28th April 1911 and weekly until 30th June, 1911 including photographs of Mrs Mansell-Moullin and others in Welsh costume.
Letter from J.R. Jones to D. Rhys Phillips, secretary of the Welsh Biographical Society. J.R. 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.
de Giafferri, Paul Louis, with illustrations by O. Macaire
The history of the feminine costume of the world, from the year 5318 B.C. to our century. [1926-1927], vol II
Brief description of costumes from all over the world with a section on European costumes, including the UK.
The frontispiece of this section is derived from Pyne’s The Costume of Great Britain (1805) plate 48 (worsted winder) and plate 8 has an ‘English peasant woman’s winter costume with country hat’, based on one of Pyne’s ‘Welsh Peasants’ (The Costume of Great Britain (1805) plate 9). There are very brief descriptions of Scottish and Irish costume with more on early costume, but no specific mention of Welsh costume.
D Rhys Phillips
Ancient Welsh and Celtic Costumes, Script for radio broadcast, 8th April, 1927.
This Does not describe 19th century women’s costume, but mentions Lady Llanover, (saying that the prints ‘are now very rare’), quotes Wirt Sykes who quoted Charlie Matthews’ comments about the prevalence of Welsh hats in the 1830s and records the contemporary use of Welsh costume at special occasions. He also mentions the prize offered by Lady Howard Stepney at the Swansea Eisteddfod for a design for Welsh costume for boys, adjudicated by Miss Stepney-Gulston and also mentioned that Mrs Coombe-Tennant of Aberpergwm still wore a Welsh costume every morning.
NLW, D Rhys Phillips, 259; NLW, D Rhys Phillips, 260 with drawing of proposed boys’ costume
T., W., Pan oedd fy nain yn ugain oed [dillad a ffasiynau Sir Fon – rhwng 1860 a 1870]. Y Ford Gron, 1932, Gorff 199-200, 218
Sale Catalogue of the Llanover Estate, 1935, included a set of the 13 costume prints,
Mann, Kathleen, Peasant Costume in Europe (London, 1936)
Book II has a section on the British Isles, which includes a short paragraph on Welsh costume (p. 40). The drawings are very simplistic and were probably based on late 19th and early 20th century postcards.
Peate, Iorwerth C., ‘Diwylliant Gwerin’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, 1938, pp. 245-246 (Lecture) Includes brief section on Welsh costume
The original album of watercolours by A Cadwallader of costume drawings (possibly commissioned by Lady Llanover) was donated to the National Library, January, 1942. NLW DV299, (PA8137)
The National Library commissioned Oxford University Press to print 12 of the 13 costume prints attributed to Lady Llanover as postcards by 1947
Blake, Lois, Welsh Folk Dance (1948)
Mrs Lois Blake was the first president of the Welsh Folk Dance Society.
The booklet includes a section on team dress, European National dress and a very brief paragraph on Welsh dress (p. 18)
The second edition, entitled Welsh Folk Dance and Costume, published in 1954, included a chapter on [Welsh] Folk Costume and refers to Lady Llanover’s postcard prints.
Another edition: Llangollen, The Gwynn Pub. Co. 1965
This may well have been written to provide a much needed background for those hoping to compete in the Llangollen International Eisteddfod which was first held in 1947. No bibliography, but refers to Kathleen Mann (above).
Ellis, Megan, Welsh Costume and Customs; The National Library of Wales : Picture book no. 1 National Library of Wales, 1951 and 1958.
Includes six of the set of 13 costume prints by Cadwallader.
No bibliography, but mentions Lady Llanover’s essay, (‘Prior to 1834, Lady Llanover also executed a series of coloured drawings depicting different types of Welsh costume’) and W.H. Pyne’s The Costume of Great Britain, 1805
Peate, Iorwerth C., Y Dillad Cymreig, Welsh Folk Dance Society. 1st Newsletter. 1953. (Part translated from the Welsh by Helen Forder and now on her Lady Llanover web site).
Etheridge, Ken, Welsh costume, (Jones and Mainwaring, Ammanford, 1958)
No bibliography, but many references to original sources, mostly tourist’s diaries. This is rather muddled, and he makes some very broad generalisations and a great many assumptions, such as that all illustrations of costumes were accurate in every detail, and that the colours on hand-coloured prints are a true reflection of the colours of Welsh fabrics.
It contains about 50 sketches by the author, based on various original drawings and prints. Introduction by Iorwerth C. Peate who mentions Lady Llanover’s essay.
Another edition which included all 13 of the costume prints was published by Christopher Davies, Swansea, 1977 with many re-prints.
Payne, Ff.G., ‘Welsh Peasant Costume’, Folk Life, II, 1963, pp. 42-57 and later published separately. No bibliography. This appears to have been based on an undated lecture, the text of which, with list of slides, is in NLW, Ffransis Payne, 1131. This article has been quoted by many academics and others as providing evidence that the national Welsh costume was created by Lady Llanover and was later adopted for commercial gain.
Fraser, Maxwell, Benjamin and Augusta Hall, 1831-1836’ NLWJ, XIII, (1964) no 3,
Plates 5-8 are of the Welsh costume prints
Oakes, A., and Hill, Margot Hamilton, Rural costume: its origin and development in Western Europe and the British Isle, (London : Batsford, 1970). Includes a section on Wales (pp. 205-212) using mostly the above sources.
Peate, Iorwerth C., Tradition and Folk Life: A Welsh View (1972), includes a chapter on Welsh costume but says very little about it. He discusses the influences on costume, but says more about Scottish costumes and Gorsedd regalia than traditional Welsh costume.
Ilid Anthony, Costumes of the Welsh People, (Welsh Folk Museum, 1975),
No bibliography. Contains many good photographs of original or reproduction costume of the sort worn by the gentry, including men. There was only one photograph of ‘Welsh costume’ and some of the three pages of text on ‘The Welsh Costume’ was republished in a catalogue Y Wisg Cymreig / The Welsh Costume to accompany the Women’s Institute displays of reconstructions of Welsh costumes in 1981. Lady Llanover is mentioned but there are only two references: one to Payne (above) and the other to Ann Buck’s The Countryman’s Smock, Folk Life, I, p. 19
Yarwood, Doreen, The Encyclopaedia of World Costume (1978).
This has a sensible section on Welsh costume but she states that Lady Llanover publicised the Welsh costume in her descriptions and watercolours.
Buck, A., Dress in Eighteenth Century England (London, Batsford, 1979)
Despite the title, the chapter ‘The Common People’ includes a section on Wales (pp. 149-151) mostly based on well known accounts and drawings by visitors to Wales.
Snowden, James, The Folk Dress of Europe, Mills and Boon and Mayflower Book, (1979). Does not include British or Irish costumes, but the introductory chapter is a valuable introduction to the subject of Folk Costumes.
Beddoe, Deirdre, ‘Images of Welsh Women’, in Curtis, T., (ed), Wales and the Imagined Nation, Essays in Cultural and National Identity (Bridgend, 1986), pp. 225-233
Sutton, A., The Textiles of Wales, (Berllew Publishing Co Ltd., London, 1987), Chapter 13 ‘Welsh National Costume’; chapter 17 ‘Shawls’
Williams, Tal, Salem – Y Llun a’r Llan – Painting and Chapel, (Llandybie, 1991), includes a section on Welsh Peasant Costume.
Section of Welsh Peasant Costume, pp. 59-63
Phillips, Elen, View o’r Fenyw, Y Wisg Gymreig drwy Lygaid y Cerdyn Post, [A View of [Welsh] Women, Welsh Costume through postcard images] MA, Prifysgol Caerdydd, (Chwefror 2006)
Lewis, Jacqueline, Passing Judgement – Welsh Dress and the English Tourist, Folk Life, xxxiii, 1994-5, 29-47,
Based on: Lewis, Jacqueline, The ancient Welsh female costume: its origin and development as defined by travellers’ accounts of 18th and 19th century Wales. Dissertation: (MA) University of London (Courtauld Institute of Art) 1991
Aaron, Jane, Women in search of Welsh Identity, Scottish Affairs, no 18, (1997), pp. 69-81
Stevens, Christine, (formerly of the Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagan’s):
Welsh Costume and the Influence of Lady Llanover on http://www.llgc.org.uk/gwyb/cyfeillion/stevensc_welsh_costume.pdf, based on a lecture read on 16th September 2000 to the Friends of the National Library.
‘Welsh Peasant Dress – Workwear or National Costume’, Textile History, 33, 63-78 (2002)
‘Welsh Costume: the survival of Tradition or National Icon?’ Folk Life, 43, (2004-5), pp. 56-69
Gibbs, Michael, Wales for Sale, (Minerva, The Journal of Swansea History, X, (2002) pp. 49-55) A review of images of Welsh costume on china and other souvenirs.
Draisey, Derek, Women in Welsh History, (2004),
Women’s dress, pp. 105-107
Roberts, Huw, Pais a Becon, Gŵn stwff a Het silc, Traditional Welsh costume in nineteenth-century Anglesey. (2007) Brief but comprehensive account of north Wales and Cardiganshire costumes and accessories; well illustrated.
Roberts, Huw, Welsh costumes at Llanover, Newsletter, Cymdeithas Gwenynen Gwent, December / Rhagfyr, 2004, p. 2-3 a transcription of a list of regional costumes of south-east and mid Wales, made mostly of satins, worn by Lady Llanover’s friends at a ball after an Abergavenny Eisteddfod.
Freeman, Michael, Lady Llanover and the Welsh Costume Prints, The National Library of Wales Journal, xxxiv, no 2 2007, pp.235-251. This gathers all the available evidence relating to Augusta Hall (Lady Llanover) and the watercolours of Welsh costume which she may have commissioned from A Cadwallader.
Aaron, J., Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing in Wales: Nation, Gender and Identity, (2007, 2010) p. 69 for discussion on Lady Llanover’s essay.
Maxwell, Alexander, Patriots against fashion : clothing and nationalism in Europe’s age of revolutions, (2014). This includes a chapter entitled ‘Folk Costumes as National Uniforms’ which includes a section on Welsh and Greek national costumes.
Osler, Dorothy and Evans, Deborah, ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush? : An introductory study to sericulture and silk-mix fabric production in north Wales in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’, Quilt studies, Issue 8 (2007), p. 83-104.
Gurden-Williams, Celyn Lady Llanover and the creation of a Welsh cultural utopia (PhD thesis, Cardiff, 2008). This includes a section on Lady Llanmover’s influence on Welsh costume.
Osler, Dorothy, and Evans, Deborah, ‘Cloth and culture : the significance of historic silk-mix fabrics from north Wales’, Quilt studies, Issue 9 (2008), pp. 84-109
Ansell, Jacqueline, ‘A History of Heritage: Case Study: travellers’ tales of Welsh National Dress’ in West, Susie, Understanding Heritage in Practice, (Manchester University Press, 2010), pp. 12-46
Freeman, Michael, ‘Traditional Welsh Costume’ published in Endyesthai (to Dress): historical, sociological and methodological approaches, Conference Proceedings, Athens in April, 2010 (published by the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation, Athens, 2012). A summary of this was the core of the wikipedia page on Traditional Welsh costume which has subsequently been ammended slightly by others.
Maxwell, Alexander, Patriots against fashion : clothing and nationalism in Europe’s age of revolutions (2014). Chapter 8 includes an excellent discussion on the attempts of the gentry in many countries to preserve the traditional costumes worn by working people during the 19th century, but his section on Welsh costume contains many simple errors.)
Several Welsh Folk Dance Society magazines include articles on aspects of Welsh costume.
There are several web sites which incorporate information from a variety of sources but much is based on myths. The best site is the National Museum of Wales site http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/faw/welshdress/
Mahon, Brid, Rich and Rare, The Story of Irish Dress, (2000) p. 65-74