Ladies in Welsh national dress at the Rock Studio, Llandudno

In the previous post we were in Glasgow, the most populous city in Scotland.  Today we’re 280 miles (450 km) to the south, in north Wales, near the seaside resort town of Llandudno.

The cabinet card photograph above was taken by William Laroche & Sons.  William Sylvester Laroche opened his first studio in Llandudno around 1872.   He soon began to offer sitters the option of being photographed in a picturesque quarry outside of town, which he christened the Rock Studio.  The Rock Studio remained in use long after he died in 1894.

Welsh ladies in Llandudno 2


The concept of Welsh national dress evolved in the 1830s and 1840s, based on clothing styles worn in preceding decades by Welsh countrywomen.  It was promoted by members of the gentry, particularly Augusta Hall (Lady Llanover), as part of an effort to maintain traditional Welsh customs at a time of increasing industrialization.  The effort benefited from an increase in tourism to the area, with travelers seeking out and celebrating local culture.

Additional information about the Welsh national costume can be found on the website Historic UK and on Wikipedia.



19 thoughts on “Ladies in Welsh national dress at the Rock Studio, Llandudno

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    1. The hats seem impractical, but maybe I’m missing something? By the way, the link I included about Laroche will take you to his page at Britain’s National Portrait Gallery, where you can see a photo of a young Robert Louis Stevenson with his parents at the Rock Studio.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. “I’ll get you my pretty …. and your little dog too!”
    I’ve been looking through these – you’ve collected some super interesting old photographs. Love it. This one appealed to me given my lost Welsh heritage on my dad’s side. This would have been a good 25 years before his Mum was born though. It sounds like the evolution of the Welsh national dress very much mirrors that of the Scottish kilt if memory serves me correctly.

    By the way, the BBC had a short series once called the lost world of Mitchell and Kenyon which I believe would appeal to you. the story was that some very early films were discovered relatively recently in the basement of an old photographers’ shop – the photographers really embraced moving pictures and travelled the country making films of every day people. They salvaged many of them and they give a unique insight into Britain of that time. I’m due a rewatch of the DVD myself. That Britain has all but been erased now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you found some images here that you liked! The Mitchell and Kenyon series sounds quite interesting. I love British photography, especially Victorian. Most negatives from the 19th century were discarded or destroyed. No one saw any value in them. Today, collectors buy old photographs, but so many are for sale that prices generally stay low. At least the prints are seen as having value, which makes them less likely to be thrown away.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Its hard to get your head around the negative being perceived as having no value back then. I wonder what the modern day equivalent of that will be now? Hmmmm Those old floppy dics with old CVs saved on them? Hard to see. Yeah I reckon you’d love that Mitchell and Kenyon series. Just found the first one on youtube though I’m not sure it would be available to watch in the US unless you have VPN software. Worth a click to find out though:

        Liked by 2 people

      2. My husband and I just watched the first of the Mitchell and Kenyon series. Absolutely fascinating! The historical detail of lives of the factory workers and the men who fought in the Boer War was as riveting as the images.

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      3. Oh brilliant – I thought you might enjoy that given all these historical photographs. I’m not sure if the rest of the series is available online. Otherwise one to watch out for on DVD for sure. I;d lend it ya, but there’s this pond in the way.

        Liked by 2 people

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