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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ELIANUS POINT LIGHTHOUSE, LLANEILIAN
UPPER HOUSE, PAINSCASTLE
CHIRK AQUARDUCT QUARRY, LLANGOLLEN CANAL;ELLESMERE CANAL;SHROPSHIRE UNION CANAL
MORRIS'S CANAL;MORRIS, LOCKWOOD AND COMPANY CANAL
CHIRK BANK SPOIL TIP, LLANGOLLEN CANAL;ELLESMERE CANAL;SHROPSHIRE UNION CANAL
Letter, 6 April 1956
LLANELLI HARBOUR LIGHT
PARYS MOUNTAIN: PARYS MINE, AMLWCH
OLD CASTLE COLLIERY RAIL BRIDGE
© Casgliad y Werin Cymru, The People's Collection Wales 2011
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