Llewelyn’s photography was inventive and prolific, and the great part of his opus survives him. His images range from the tentative daguerreotypes of his young family in the 1840s to the literary tableaux of the 1850s; from arcadian landscapes and still-lifes of game birds to the moon, viewed through the telescope of the observatory built for his beloved Thereza.
The Photographer of Penllergare was also the Squire of Penllergare, progressive landowner, botanist of distinction, and an active member of the community of Swansea, where he was born. Appointed Deputy Lieutenant and later High Sheriff of Glamorgan, he was a founder member of the Swansea Literary and Philosophical Society. A family man at home, he also enjoyed the cultural pursuits of London, and membership of the leading scientific societies.
A man of compassion, Llewelyn represented a figure barely visible to the social philosophers of the twenty-first century. He was a member of the ruling class, yet one driven by a Quaker conscience. He was a magistrate who urged leniency; an abolitionist; a campaigner for the reform of mental asylums; a builder of schools and a provider for hospitals.
A cousin by marriage of William Henry Fox Talbot, Llewelyn became the most honoured Welsh photographer of his time. He was a founding member of the Photographic Society of London, and a regular exhibitor, sought out by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for his innovative photographs. He was awarded a Médaille de 1re classe at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, 1855, where the jury adjudged his work as ‘of great taste and perfectly realised.’
The Photographer of Penllergare is the story of a master of the new art.