A Collection of Victorian Era Photographs by John Dillwyn Llewelyn (1850s)

John Dillwyn Llewelyn (1810 – 1882) was a botanist and pioneer photographer. His earliest daguerreotype is dated 1840. A few of his early photogenic drawings have survived, including some cliché verre, dated 1839. When the Royal Photographic Society was founded in 1853, Llewelyn was one of those who attended the foundation meeting at the Society of Arts in London, and was, for some years, a founder Council member.

The majority of his images were taken around his estate of Penllergare, near Swansea, and around the Welsh coast. There are also a number taken in Cornwall over several years, many in Bristol including some pioneer animal and bird images in Clifton Zoo, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and a few in Scotland. His circle of photographic friends included Philip Henry Delamotte, Robert Hunt, Hugh Welch Diamond and especially his distant relative Calvert Richard Jones.

His last images would appear to date from the end of the 1850s after which it is possible that his health prevented any further photographic activity.

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John Dillwyn Llewelyn, Oakley Cottage, MET, 1853–56 via

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Emma Charlotte Dillwyn Llewelyn’s Album, MET, 1853–56 via

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John Dillwyn Llewelyn, Birthday Group, MET, 1856 via

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John Dillwyn Llewelyn, Two Women, One Kneeling and One Standing, Looking into Basket Filled with Vegetables, MET, 1853–56 via

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John Dillwyn Llewelyn, Gipsies, MET, 1853–56 via

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John Dillwyn Llewelyn , Thereza and the dickies, early 1850s via

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John Dillwyn Llewelyn, Emma, wife of John Dillwyn Llewelyn/ The National Library of Wales from Wales/Cymru, 1852 via

Late Victorian Fancy Dress: The Devonshire House Ball in 1897

The Devonshire House Costume Ball of 1897 was one of the most anticipated social events of 1897. To stress the importance of th magnificent affair, the London Photographic Firm Lafayette was invited to take studio-style photographs of the guests in their costumes, which ranged from mythical goddesses, figures from paintings, and historical kings and queens.

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The Duke of York, later King George V (1865-1936), as “The Queen’s Champion” and the Duchess of York, later Queen Mary (1867-1953)  as “a Lady at the Court of Marguerite de Valois” at the Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball, 1897 via

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Frances Evelyn (Daisy), the countess of Warwick, chose Marie Antoinette as her costume for the elegant and highly anticipated evening. The costume, made by Worth of Paris, was studded with real diamonds and used both gold and antique lace via

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Lady Randolph Churchill (1854-1921), née Jennie Jerome in a Worth Parisian Costume, as Empress Theodora, while attending the Devonshire House Ball, 1897 via

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Consuelo Marlborough (née Vanderbilt), dressed for the Devonshire House Ball, 1897 via

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Mary Teresa (‘Daisy’) (Cornwallis-West), Princess of Pless dressed as Queen of Sheba for the Devonshire House Ball via

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Miss Goelet as Scheherazade via

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The ethereal beauty of Mrs J Graham Menzies in the role of Titania, Queen of the Fairies via

Queen Victorias Wedding 10th of February 1840

Queen Victoria first met her German cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1836, and they became engaged during his second visit to England in 1839. Their wedding ceremony took place on 10 February 1840 at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.

Queen Victoria chose to marry Prince Albert in a white silk satin gown featuring Honiton lace, an unusual color choice for bridal gowns at the time; she started the white wedding gown tradition that remains today. On her wedding morning, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal:

Dressed….I wore a white satin gown with a very deep flounce of Honiton, imitation of old. I wore my Turkish diamond necklace and earrings, and Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch.

She also wore a wreath of orange blossoms (symbolising purity) and myrtle (symbolising love and domestic happiness), and these became the most common flowers carried and worn in Victorian weddings.

Their wedding day itself was inauspicious, a heavy rain falling; but immense multitudes assembled to gaze upon the processions. The bridal procession from Buckingham Palace to St. James’s begun to move through the triumphal arch at 12 o’clock. It was the first wedding of a reigning Queen in England since 1554.

Queen Victoria spent the evening after her wedding lying down with a headache, but wrote ecstatically in her diary:

I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!

Her marriage to Prince Albert brought nine children between 1840 and 1857. Most of her children married into other Royal families of Europe.

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Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their return from the marriage service at St James’s Palace, London, 10th February 1840. Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock via

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A middle aged Victoria and Albert recreate their wedding day. Photo by Roger Fenton 1854 via

Princess Victoria Mary of Teck by Lafayette (1893)

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Queen Mary (1867-1953) when Princess Victoria Mary of Teck by Lafayette, 1893 via

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Queen Mary (1867-1953) when Princess Victoria Mary of Teck by Lafayette, 1893 via

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Wedding Photos (1947)

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wedding photos, November 20, 1947 via

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wedding photos, November 20, 1947 via