Initially influenced by Henry Fox Talbot, John Dillwyn Llewelyn eventually became recognised as one of the foremost British pioneer photographers.
A founder Council Member of the Photographic Society of London (now the Royal Photographic Society), he exhibited at all their early exhibitions and at Paris in 1855 winning a Silver Medal.
He tried all the known processes, initially using Talbot’s Photogenic drawing, Daguerre’s Daguerrotype on silvered copper, Talbot’s newer Calotype process, the Wet Collodion process and his own variant of the latter, the Oxymel process, which was pronounced by the Illustrated London News of July 1856 to be of ‘extreme importance and benefit to photographers’.
He has left a large archive of material, principally to be found in Swansea Museum, the National Library of Wales and the National Museum of Wales that is considered central to the development and spirit of photography. His work includes pictures of Scotland, Yorkshire; visits to Cornwall and Bristol; and of friends and places in and around Swansea; but it is the photographs he took of the landscape and gardens at Penllergare and of his young growing family that possibly remain his most evocative, showing a particular passion for his own private world.