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:
- 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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
|1851||1862||Fenton||Interior of Tintern Abbey|
|1854||Fenton||Girl in niche|
|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||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||109||Portion of North Transept and Refectory|
|1860||about||Bedford||110||Door to Cloister Court|
|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||55||from across the River|
|1860||1863||Pumphrey||57||West Window, exterior|
|1860||1863||Pumphrey||63||East Window, Interior|
|1860||1863||Pumphrey||721||East Window, Exterior|
|1860||1863||Pumphrey||724||The Cloister gate|
|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|
|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||561||Portion of North Transept and Refectory|
|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|
|1870||about||Jacob (Falmouth)||220||The South Aisle looking West|
|1870||about||London Stereoscope Company||[external, south transept]|
|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||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||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||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|