Born in Cellan, Ceredigion in 1838, John Thomas was the son of labourer David Thomas and his wife Jane. Following his education in Cellan, first as a pupil and then a pupil-teacher, Thomas began an apprenticeship at a tailor shop in Lampeter. In 1853 he moved to Liverpool to work in a draper but was forced to leave after ten years to find work in the open air due to ill health. It was due to this that he began work as a traveller for a firm dealing in writing materials and photographs of famous people. Small photographs of celebrities, known as ‘carte-de-visite’ photographs, were extremely popular at that time and made for a very lucrative business.
But, during his travels, John Thomas noticed that there was a lack of photographs of Welsh celebrities. This was inspiration enough for a new business and so, having learnt the rudiments of photography, he began taking photographs of famous Welsh people. He began by asking well-known preachers to sit for their portraits.
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CYFYNG WATER OVERFLOW AND OUTLET, YSTALYFERA
SAUNDERSFOOT RAILWAY (THOMAS CHAPEL SECTION)
LLANFIHANGEL COURT, STABLES
PLAS-YN-Y-PENTRE BRIDGE, LLANGOLLEN CANAL
TROED-Y-RHIW, QUARRY II
GRAIGOLA (NORTHERN) COLLIERIES RAILWAY, TREBANOS
Western Hall and Chapel, Lamphey
The Gloriette, Portmeirion, 1969
FRONGOCH FACH;FRON-GOCH FACH
© Casgliad y Werin Cymru, The People's Collection Wales 2011
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