British photographic history

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Sotheby's New York is to offer an album of photographs by John Dilwyn Llewelyn from the collection of Paul Walter on 30 September. This album comes originally from the collection of the photographer’s granddaughter, the ‘Mrs. Crichton’ referenced on the title page (née Emma Charlotte Llewelyn).  It was among a rich selection of albums of Llewelyn’s photographs offered at Sotheby’s Belgravia in 1977.

The catalogue text reads: 

JOHN DILLWYN LLEWELYN

1810-1887

AN ALBUM, ‘PHOTOGRAPHS BY J. D. L.’

an album comprising 51 leaves with mounted photographs, including many views of the Llewelyn Family Estate, Penllergare, and Environs, studies of the Llewelyn Family including several Composite Groups, one with a decorative pen and wash border, numerous Botanical Studies, and many charming Rustic and Scenic Views, albumen prints, most identified in ink on the mount; the title calligraphically inscribed ‘Photographs by J. D. L’ in black and red ink beneath a mounted photographic stag head, and ‘Sir John Dilwyn [sic] Llewelyn, brother to Mrs. Crichton’ in a later hand in ink, 1850s. Small folio, 1/2 red leather, marbled paper boards 

The photographs 8 3/4  by 11 1/4  (22.2 by 28.6 cm.) and smaller

 

PROVENANCE

Sotheby’s Belgravia, 1 July 1977, Lot 188

CATALOGUE NOTE

This album comes originally from the collection of the photographer’s granddaughter, the ‘Mrs. Crichton’ referenced on the title page (née Emma Charlotte Llewelyn).  It was among a rich selection of albums of Llewelyn’s photographs offered at Sotheby’s Belgravia in 1977.  John Dillwyn Llewelyn married a cousin of William Henry Fox Talbot, and thus became a member of Talbot’s circle.  He had already experimented with the daguerreotype in the 1840s, and moved on to paper photography, with impressive results, in the 1850s.  The images in this album show, among an array of subjects, many facets of the idyllic Llewelyn family estate in Wales, Penllergare, and its much-celebrated grounds.  Llewelyn was the son of a botanist, and his love of plants, landscaping, and, by extension, the natural world is manifest in this charming album.  Views of nature and plants are complemented by studies of the Llewelyn family and neighbors, including images entitled ‘Gipsies,’ ‘Our School Children,’ and ‘Willy Fishing.’  Also included are Llewelyn’s photographs of neighboring houses, Sketty Hall and Lanelay, and images of local color, including the fully-manned ‘Tenby Lifeboat.’

In addition to his keen aesthetic ability with the camera, Llewelyn was a technical innovator, as well.  An early adopter of the wet-plate process, he overcame the need to sensitize plates on-site through the use of Oxymel, a mixture of honey and vinegar, which kept the plates moist and camera-ready for the duration of a photographic outing.  The 60-odd photographs in this album give ample proof of Llewelyn’s status as one of the most accomplished and broadly-talented photographers of his day.       

See more here: http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2014/photographs-n09...

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