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Bibliography of Welsh costume

Bibliography of all key publications and some manuscripts relating to Welsh costume, with special reference to the costume watercolours and prints ascribed to Lady Llanover.

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.

The list is arranged in chronological order.

It will be noted that there were almost no serious articles on Welsh costume until after 1948

18th and 19th Century

Over 40,000 words describing or commenting on Welsh costume have been transcribed by Michael Freeman, Curator of Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth from over 150 diaries and journals of visitors to Wales (many unpublished), guide books, directories and official reports.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references tend to be by men and are brief, specific and published; women's accounts are generally longer but normally unpublished.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.

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)
On the Advantages Resulting from the Preservation of the Welsh Language and the National Costumes of Wales / Y Traethawd Buddugol ar y Buddioldeb a Ddeillia Oddiwrth Gadwedigaeth y Iaith Gymraeg, a Dullwisgoedd Cymru gan Gwenynen Gwent (Mrs Hall, o Lanofer). 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 support for the Welsh woollen industry.
Two known copies of both languages are in Cardiff and three in America.

A Cadwallader / Cadwalader (about 1834)
Series of watercolours of Welsh costumes produced.
13 of these were published as prints (1834 – 1835). Publisher unknown

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.

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.

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)

MarieTrevelyan, GlimpsesofWelshLifeandCharacter(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.

'Female Costumes, Historical, National, Dramatic in 200 plates. Collected and edited by T. H. Lacy, London, 1865. This includes 'A Welch Girl' (plate 122).

Raglan, Lord, London Mystery Magazine (date unknown)
Article 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.

'Caws Pob' (Notes and Queries)
Request for more information on a volume of prints of Welsh costume entitled 'Dull-wisgoedd Cymru. Cyflwynedig i bendefigion a boneddigion y dywysogaeth. Cambrian costumes dedicated to the nobility and gentry of Wales.'
The reply lists the prints, noting that they were in pairs and states that they were issued by the late Lady Llanover in about 1836 and are found in large and small paper. The writer finished his note with a plea for someone to make a biography of the Welsh costume books.
Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society, I, (1911), Notes and Queries, p. 63, 95.

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.
Doesn't 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

Sale Catalogue of the Llanover Estate includes a set of the 13 costume prints, 1935

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's costume drawings (possibly commissioned by Lady Llanover) were donated to the National Library, January, 1942. NLW DV299, (PA8137)

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, entitledWelsh 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).
The National Library commissioned Oxford University Press to print 12 of the 13 costume prints by Cadwallader as postcards by 1954

Etheridge, Ken, Welsh costume, (Jones and Mainwaring, Ammanford, 1958)
No bibliography, but many references to original sources, mostly tourist's diaries. He makes some very broad generalisations.
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, F.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.

Fraser, Maxwell, Benjamin and Augusta Hall, 1831-1836' NLWJ, XIII, no 3,
Plates 5-8 are of the 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.

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.

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),
Section of Welsh Peasant Costume, pp. 59-63

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
Bibliography, mostly references to tourist's diaries.

Stevens, Christine, (formerly of the Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagan's), Welsh Peasant Dress – Workwear or National Costume, Textile History, 33, 63-78 (2002) and much the same evidence was used in her Welsh Costume and the Influence of Lady Llanover on, based on a lecture read on 16th September 2000 to the Friends of the National Library.
The former has a bibliography which consists mostly of references to tourist's diaries; the latter has no bibliography.

Stevens, Christine, '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, G?n 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.

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.

Osler, Dorothy, and Evans, Deborah, 'Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush? An introductory Study to Sericulture in Silk-mix Fabric Production in North Wales in the Eighteenth and NineteenthCenturies', Quilt Studies, (2007), pp. 83-104.

Osler, Dorothy, and Evans, Deborah,'The Significance of the Historic Silk-mix Fabrics from North Wales', Quilt Studies, (2008)

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

Michael Freeman
Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth