Augusta Hall (Lady Llanover, 1802-96), was one of the most important sponsors of Welsh folk culture in the nineteenth century, especially in the fields of music, dance and traditional costume.

She was born into a family of gentry in Monmouthshire, and although she could not speak Welsh fluently, she took an avid interest in Welsh culture throughout her life. Through her friendship with Thomas Price (Carnhuanawc, 1787-1848) she became an important member of the local cultural and patriotic society, the Cymreigyddion. In 1834, she won a prize for an essay on the Welsh language and traditional dress in the eisteddfod in Cardiff. About this time she began using the pseudonym 'Gwenynen Gwent'. She supported Maria Jane Williams (Llinos, 1795-1873), Aberpergwm, in the work of collecting the folk tunes of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. She was also primarily responsible for the popularity of the triple harp about the middle of the nineteenth century.

Through her links with the Cymreigyddion she was influential in forming the 'Welsh Manuscripts Society' in 1836. Later she obtained the manuscripts of Iolo Morganwg, and these are now part of the collections of the National Library of Wales.

She is remembered primarily, however, for creating the traditional image of the Welsh costume with the hat, petticoat and bedgown. She argued in her eisteddfod essay of 1834 that Welsh women should wear traditional clothing. According to her, clothes made from Welsh wool were more practical as it they were suitable for all weathers and could even guard against consumption! She was so committed to furthering her version of traditional dress that she forced her maids to wear it at their work in Llanover. The volume Cambrian Costumes consists of a series of 17 watercolours by A. Cadwaladr, commissioned by Augusta, of women's costume from some of the counties of Wales. It is likely that this volume influenced other artists such as Alexander F. Rolfe (fl. 1839-fl. 1873) and H. Jones (fl. 1824-fl. 1849) to create similar images.

Comments (3)

Anonymous's profile picture
This was most helpful in finding the source of 12 postcards published by Oxford University Press and in our possession at Indiana University South Bend. Thank you VERY much! What beautiful visuals of the original watercolors! I especially appreciate the enlargement feature. How clever! I don't suppose you might know the source of 2 postcards in the same style but numbered 127 and 128 by the publishers? Thank you, Karen L. Eggermont [email protected]
Gathering The Jewels's profile picture
Thank you for leaving this comment. To which postcards are you referring to? Do they appear in 'Cambrian costumes dedicated to the nobility and gentry of Wales'? If so then you should contact the National Library of Wales ( where this item is kept.
Michael Freeman's profile picture
For a detailed description of this album, see my web site

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