Tintern early photographs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Bedford’s stereographs, no. 556, c. 1860, showing his carriage (and driver?) which he needed, to carry his processing equipment, chemicals and cameras. He often travelled with his wife, Mary and one of his sons both of whom appeared in many of his photographs. His carriage appeared in several other photographs in other parts of the country.

This page includes:

  • Introduction
  • Brief notes on photographers, in roughly chronological order with examples of their work:
    • Roger Fenton 1819-1869
    • William Russell Sedgfield (1826-1902)
    • Ogle and Edge
    • Alfred Capel Cure (1826–1896)
    • Francis Bedford, (1815-1894)
    • John Wheeley Gough Gutch (1809–1862)
    • W. Harding Warner (1816 – 1894)
    • The Pumphrey Brothers of Birmingham
    • J & J Dutton, Bath
    • Francis Frith (1822-1898) and his successors
    • Other stereographs
    • The Photochrom Co.
    • J. Valentine and Co. Dundee (1866-1966)
    • Photograph of a gatehouse and St Anne’s chapel
  • List of known early photographs of Tintern.

Introduction

Nearly 200 photographs of Tintern Abbey are known for the period between 1850 and 1900. The majority of these were taken as stereographs by professional photographers and sold in numbered sets.
See full list at the end of this page.
Many of them date to the late 1850s and early 1860s but only a few are firmly dated, either by the photographer (normally the date of printing) or the owner (date of purchase) or a copy was published in a book.
Very few are of any artistic merit: they are simply views of the interior, up or down the nave; along the aisles and transepts and occasionally, diagonally from an aisle across the nave. Many of the views along the length of the building have been foreshortened by the camera lenses and are spoiled by the contrast between light and shade which is inevitable if the sun was out.
There are also views of the exterior (mostly of the west-end and south side) and a few of the ruins of the adjacent monastic buildings. There are no detailed photographs, for example of the effigy of the knight or the tombstones, or of windows and doors, other than the door which led from the cloister to the abbey.
Most have no people in the view but there are exceptions: Fenton always included at least one figure and Bedford often included his wife or son.
External views
Possibly the oldest photographs of Tintern were taken by Roger Fenton (see below) in 1854.
An external view of the west and south facades shows the cedar tree which was removed by about 1870.
Subsequent photographs show how the ivy on the ruins altered in extent and was gradually removed, as were the trees which blocked the view of the whole structure.

Roger Fenton (1819-1869)

Photographs dated 1854-1862
The earliest dated images of Tintern were taken by Roger Fenton which he showed at the Photographic Society’s first exhibition in 1854 and again at their 1855 and 1859 exhibitions.
Fenton took no photographs after 1862 and sold all his negatives some of which Frith bought and continued to print them.
Many of his images are on the Royal Collection Trust website (links below) which enables the images to be considerably enlarged.
His photographs are unusual in that they include people amongst the ruins. There is a lovely image of a girl seated in a niche in the ruins of the kitchen.
She appears in another view, entitled ‘The Cloisters, Tintern Abbey Photographed & Published by R. Fenton, Oct. 1st, 1854’  and also in a third, by a ruined vault,
with a young woman who also appears in the view with an older woman and man with a roller.
The older woman also appears in a view of the south aisle.
It is quite possible that the older and young woman were Fenton’s wife and daughter and that the girl was poor local, hoping for a tip for showing them around. Although she is wearing a well-made dress of patterned fabric, and her hair is well coiffured, she appears to have a good sun-tan.
Another of Fenton’s views shows the nave looking east, with what appears to be a poor woman, wearing an apron, and at least 9 visitors in the presbytery.

A view of the south aisle shows a man seated on some of the fallen carved stonework. Getty collection

William Russell Sedgfield (1826-1902)

Photographs dated between1855 and 1866.
Sedgfield produced a series of stereographs, numbered and titled on attached labels, some of which have straight or oval blind-stamps ‘Sedgfield’s English Scenery’.
His views of Tintern are not particularly good but some were published in two books by William and Mary Howitt, Ruined abbeys and castles of Great Britain, (London: Alfred W. Bennett, 1862),  The Wye: its ruined abbeys and castles with photographic illustrations by Bedford and Sedgfield. (London: A. W. Bennett 1863).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tintern Abbey. The Nave and West Window, Sedfield’s English Scenery no. 396 (Michael Freeman collection.)


Tintern Abbey from Chapel Hill. Sedgfield’s English Scenery no. 405. Published in William and Mary Howitt, Ruined abbeys and castles of Great Britain, (London: Alfred W. Bennett, 1862), p. 75

Ogle and Edge

Photographs dated 1856-1860
Ogle and Edge were in partnership from about 1856 until January 1860. Their photographs have OE on the negative, normally on the bottom right.


Their stereographs of Tintern are numbered 1-9 and 422-429 with printed titles. Some of both sets are blind-stamped ‘Ogle and Edge, Photo’ and others ‘The London Stereoscopic Company, Cheapside’.
Generally, their photographs are of poor quality and uninteresting and include no figures.

Alfred Capel Cure (British, 1826–1896)

One photograph entitled “Interior Tintern – 1857” is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York

Francis Bedford, (1815-1894)

Working 1858-late 19th century.
Bedford took thousands of images, mostly stereographs which were also published as large and small cartes de visite.
A mounted albumen silver print of the Choir Arcade at Tintern Abbey, South Wales, has been dated to 1858 .
The stereographs have his name, a title and number printed on them. He later reproduced some of the images with different numbers and in different series (e.g. by county) but this did not apply to Tintern, where each batch of numbers were for new photographs, some of which might have been taken by one of his sons. Frith and Co acquired his negatives and republished some of them at the end of the 19th century. Many of the original negatives are now in Birmingham Museum.
His views are good, both technically and artistically.

Many of Bedford’s photographs include figures, mostly his wife, Mary and one or other of his sons, Arthur and William (wearing a cap)

Detail of Bedford no 112, showing the nave looking east, with Mary Bedford by the pile of carved stonework.

 

 


Bedford no. 566 with one of Bedford’s sons by the railed-off floor tiles in the south aisle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

W. Harding Warner (1816 – 1894)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 487. – Tyntern Abbey – General View – Interior Looking West
Pre c. 1872 when the carved stones were removed from across the nave.

John Wheeley Gough Gutch (1809–1862)

Two rather poor prints of Tintern are known.

The Pumphrey Brothers of Birmingham

Photographs dated late 1860s and early 1870s.

Alfred (1830-1913) and Josiah Pumphrey (1823-1911) were partners, 1867-1873. Alfred may have continued on his own after 1873. They might have been related to William Pumphrey of York, (1817-1905) who also took photographs.

 

The cloister gate, which led from the cloister into the abbey. This was a popular subject for artists and photographers. Pumphrey often included figures in his shots.

 

 

 

 

 


‘West Window, Tintern Abbey’ from the choir. Pumphrey no. 1137.
The Pumphrey brothers marked their negatives with a number which corresponds with lists of photographs  printed on the back of some of their stereographs. They printed titles on some of their images but not their names.

J & J Dutton, Bath

Dutton produced at least three views of Tintern, as stereographs, carte de visite and larger format prints. They probably date to the late 1860s, early 1870s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This stereograph by Dutton illustrates the problem that many photographers had at Tintern resulting from deep shadows in bright sunshine. It is surprising that this image was considered worthy of publication.

John Taylor, F.S.A.,

 

 

Taylor was the Librarian of the Bristol Museum and Library. He published Tintern Abbey and Its Founders Comprising a Revision and Correction of Preceding accounts, with numerous additional Particulars Hitherto Uncollected, Including the Dates of the Various Buildings in 1869 which included 20 photographs of Tintern Abbey and a print of the effigy of the knight. It is not known who took the photographs.

Francis Frith (1822-1898) and his successors

Francis Frith’s company normally numbered all its negatives in chronological order, thus making the dating relatively reliable although there are complications. For example, a general view of the abbey, numbered 2702 predates no. 728 (the cedar tree is in the former but not the latter) and 27591 was clearly taken at a different date to 27592 (the
They purchased and published the work of other photographs including some of Fenton’s and Bedford’s early photographs. Their photographs were sold as prints before the advent of postcards which the firm published in large numbers well into the 20th century.
Frith’s web site: https://www.francisfrith.com/uk/

The following are from original reference prints in the Victoria and Albert Museum

A very unusual view of the west end from high up in the ruins of the north Transept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An early view of the exterior showing the cedar tree which was removed in the 1870s

 

 

 

 

 

 

An external view showing a tree which was hidden by the cedar in the previous view. This illustrates that the number of images is not always chronological.

Other stereographs

There are about 20 stereographs of Tintern by unidentified photographers, most of which have no titles. Some date to the 1860s but others might have been produced at the end of the 19th century when stereo-photography was revived. At the same time, 3¼ inch (80mm) square glass mounted projector slides were produced and sold or lent out in sets for public display. At least six slides of Tintern are known.

The Photochrom Co.

The Photochrom Co. published many coloured images, most of which are very fine including this view of the interior of the nave which has been adjusted for the distortions caused by parallax. no. 10982 Library of Congress

 

 

 

 

J. Valentine and Co. Dundee (1866-1966)

Valentines produced prints before postcards became popular at the end of the 19th century. The numbering of their negatives are a reliable index to their date. This is no. 4751 which dates to 1884. It was later produced as a postcard.

 

 

 

Photograph of a monastic gatehouse and St Anne’s chapel, near Tintern Abbey. The present building incorporates remnants of that 13th century structure. The gatehouse had a chapel and the house has a three-light Decorated window from that period. The modern building also comprises the undercroft of the original chapel. In the 19th century, St Anne’s became the home of John Loraine Baldwin (1809-1896), who was appointed Warden of Tintern Abbey in 1873. He lived there with his wife, Lady Frances Baldwin.

List of known early photographs of Tintern. Some of these entries are derived from lists published in guide books or on the backs of stereographs.

date date range photographer no title
1851 1862 Fenton Interior of Tintern Abbey
1854 Fenton The Cloisters
1854 Fenton Girl in niche
1854 Fenton East Window
1854 ? Fenton Transept (woman)
1854 ? Fenton Aisle (man seated)
1854 ? Fenton monastic ruin (2 females)
1854 ? Fenton West end, external
1855 1866 Sedgfield 396 The Nave and West Window
1855 1866 Sedgfield 397 The North Transept
1855 1866 Sedgfield 398 The Transepts and South Door
1855 1866 Sedgfield 401 The Nave Isle
1855 1866 Sedgfield 404 The North Door
1855 1866 Sedgfield 405 Tintern Abbey from Chapel Hill
1855 1866 Sedgfield 406 The Wye at Tintern From Chapel Hill
1855 1866 Sedgfield The West End
1855 1866 Sedgfield The West Door
1855 1866 Sedgfield The Choir and East Window
1855 1866 Sedgfield The North Transept
1856 June Gutch [Exterior]
1856 1860 Ogle and Edge 1 looking east from the nave
1856 1860 Ogle and Edge 2 West Window from the Nave
1856 1860 Ogle and Edge 3 Doorway on the North Side
1856 1860 Ogle and Edge 4 south Aisle looking west
1856 1860 Ogle and Edge 6 south Aisle looking west
1856 1860 Ogle and Edge 9 Part of Transept from the Nave
1856 1860 Ogle and Edge 23 Interior of the church looking east
1856 1860 Ogle and Edge 422 looking S.W., from the N.E. corner of Chancel
1856 1860 Ogle and Edge 423 north Aisle of chancel looking East
1856 1860 Ogle and Edge 429 Remains of Refectory from the N.E.
1857 Cure [Nave looking west]
1858 Bedford choir arcade (with effigy)
1858 about Gutch [Nave looking east]
1860 about Bedford 104 from the South-West
1860 about Bedford 105 the West Front
1860 about Bedford 106 the Western Doorway
1860 about Bedford 107 Remains of the Refectory
1860 about Bedford 108 North Transept
1860 about Bedford 109 Portion of North Transept and Refectory
1860 about Bedford 110 Door to Cloister Court
1860 about Bedford 111 ?
1860 about Bedford 112 Interior, looking East
1860 about Bedford 113 Interior, looking West
1860 about Bedford 114 South Aisle, looking East
1860 about Bedford 115 the Nave Arcade
1860 about Bedford 116 View across the Choir
1860 about Bedford 117 the North Aisle, looking West
1860 about Bedford 118 from the Ferry
1860 about Dutton (Bath) 161 [interior looking west]
1860 1863 Pumphrey 53 South Isle
1860 1863 Pumphrey 55 from across the River
1860 1863 Pumphrey 57 West Window, exterior
1860 1863 Pumphrey 58 South Window
1860 1863 Pumphrey 63 East Window, Interior
1860 1863 Pumphrey 718 South Isle
1860 1863 Pumphrey 721 East Window, Exterior
1860 1863 Pumphrey 722 South Window
1860 1863 Pumphrey 723 South Window
1860 1863 Pumphrey 724 The Cloister gate
1860 1863 Pumphrey 725 West Door
1860 1863 Pumphrey 726 Interior
1860 1863 Pumphrey 727 West Window from Interior
1860 1863 Pumphrey 728 Interior View across Transept
1860 1863 Pumphrey 729 Interior View across Transept
1860 1863 Pumphrey 730 West Window, exterior
1860 1863 Pumphrey 731 Interior View across Transept
1860 1863 Pumphrey 757 West Window, exterior
1860 1863 Pumphrey 758 South Window
1860 1863 Pumphrey 1137 West Window
1860 1863 Pumphrey 1144 Cloister Gate
1870 about Anon  (label on back) 388 The Chancel and Nave, looking West
1870 about Anon  (label on back) 390 The South Aisle, looking East
1870 about Anon  (label on back) 391 The North Aisle, looking East
1870 about Bedford 556 from the South-West
1870 about Bedford 557 the West Front
1870 about Bedford 558 The Western Doorway
1870 about Bedford 559 ?
1870 about Bedford 560 North Transept
1870 about Bedford 561 Portion of North Transept and Refectory
1870 about Bedford 562 ?
1870 about Bedford 563 South Side, from the Meadow
1870 about Bedford 564 Interior looking East
1870 about Bedford 565 Interior looking West
1870 about Bedford 566 South Aisle, looking East
1870 about Bedford 567 the Nave Arcarde
1870 about Bedford 568 View Across the Choir
1870 about Bedford 569 North Aisle, looking West
1870 about Bedford 570 from the Ferry
1870 about Warner 487 Interior Looking West
1870s early Frith 776
1870s early Frith 2684
1870s early Frith 2702
1870s early Frith 2703
1870s early Frith 2704
1870s early Frith 2705
1870s early Frith 2706
1870s early Frith 2707
1870s early Frith 2708
1870s early Frith 2709
1870s early Frith 2710
1870s decade Frith 2712
1870s decade Frith 2713
1870s decade Frith 2714
1870s decade Frith 2715
1870s decade Frith 2786
1870 Frith 345G
1870 about Jacob (Falmouth) 220 The South Aisle looking West
1870 about London Stereoscope Company [external, south transept]
1872 about Frith 6356
1872 about Frith 6363
1872 about Frith 6368
1872 about Frith 6369
1872 about Frith 6371
1874 about Frith 728
1874 about Frith 730
1874 about Frith 731
1874 about Frith 733
1874 about Frith 734
1878 pre Frith 2711
1878 about Frith 10576
1878 about Frith 10577
1878 about Frith 10578
1878 about Frith 10583
1880 about Bedford 807 & Valley of Wye
1880 about Bedford 808 from the Ferry
1880 about Bedford 809 from the Old Chepstow Road
1880 about Bedford 810 from the Chepstow Road
1880 about Bedford 811 South-West View
1880 about Bedford 812 Interior looking East
1880 about Bedford 813 Interior looking East
1880 about Bedford 814 View across Nave looking East
1880 about Bedford 815 Interior looking West
1880 about Bedford 816 Interior looking West
1880 about Bedford 817 ?
1880 about Bedford 970 South Aisle looking east
1880 about Bedford 971 North Aisle looking west
1880 about Bedford 2366 the River Wye and Abbey
1880 about Bedford 2367 from the Chepstow Road
1880 about Bedford 2368 From Chapel Hill
1880 about Bedford 2369 From the Old Chepstow Road
1880 about Bedford 2370 from Rock Cottage
1880 about Bedford 2371 South-West View, No. 1
1880 about Bedford 2372 South-West View, No. 2
1880 about Bedford 2373 The West Front
1880 about Bedford 2374 Interior, looking East
1880 about Bedford 2375 Interior, looking West
1880 about Bedford 2376 the Nave and West Window
1880 about Bedford 2377 the Nave Arcade
1880 about Bedford 2378 Aisle of Nave, looking West
1880 about Bedford 2379 South Aisle, looking East
1880 about Bedford 2380 Interior of the North Transept
1880 about Bedford 2381 View across the Choir
1880 about Bedford 2382 ?
1880 about Bedford 2853 from Chapel Hill
1880 about Bedford 2854 from the Chepstow Road
1880 about Bedford 2855 from the Old Chepstow Road
1880 about Bedford 2856 The West Front
1880 about Bedford 2857 View from the South-West
1880 about Bedford 2858 the East End [sic]
1880 about Bedford 2859 View from the North-East
1880 about Bedford 2860 the North Transept, from the Hospitium
1880 about Bedford 2861 Interior, looking East, No. 1
1880 about Bedford 2862 Interior, looking East, No. 2
1880 about Bedford 2863 View across the Nave
1880 about Bedford 2864 the South Aisle of Nave
1880 about Bedford 2865 the North Transept
1880 about Bedford 2866 the Great East Window
1880 about Bedford 2867 View from the Transept. looking West
1880 about Bedford 2868 View in the Choir, looking West
1880 about Bedford 2869 Interior, Looking West, No. 1
1880 about Bedford 2870 Interior, Looking West, No. 2
1884 Valentine 4751
1890s ? Photochrom 10982
1890 Frith 27591
1890 about Frith 27592
1893 Frith 32469
1893 Frith 32472
1893 Frith 32475
1893 Frith 32476