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Local and folk characters

Images of Welsh country folk are also an integral part of the Welsh Portrait Archive. Sir John Ballinger, the first Librarian at the National Library of Wales, had a vision for the collection when he stated that the Library should collect ‘portraits of men and women, not only celebrities, but racial types and interesting characters.’

Jane Leonard ‘Siani pob man’ (1834-1917)

‘Siani Pob Man’ (translated ‘Jane Everywhere’) was a well-known local character, living in a traditional mud-walled cottage on the beach in Cei Bach, Nr. New Quay, Ceredigion. She was born at Bannau Duon Farm, Llanarth, and was baptized Jane Leonard. She gained the name ‘Siani Pob Man’ from her habit of roaming the neighbourhood, and calling at farms and houses, asking for donations of food, especially during harvest time.

She was very popular with the tourists, whose fascination with her led to the publishing of postcards featuring poetry and a photograph of her. She would often sit outside her cottage feeding her chickens, singing rhymes, or telling fortunes to visitors. She died in 1917, aged 83, and is buried in Henfynyw Cemetery.

Alice Edwards, Aberaeron

This photograph is of Alice Edwards and her family, from Aberaeron, Ceredigion. The photograph, which has been produced in the popular carte-de-visite form, was taken by Ebenezer Morgan, an Aberystwyth photographer, who had photographic studios in Pier Street between 1868 and 1895.

‘Twm Crwca’

Arthur Squibbs was a photographer operating in New Quay and Cardigan from 1901 onwards. He took many photographs of people going about their daily lives, including workmen. The Portrait Archive includes a collection of Aberaeron workmen at the turn of the last century, including a cabinet photograph of ‘Twm Crwca,’ Aberaeron town crier in 1901.

Mrs Price (of 'Three Horse Shoes', Llanwrda)

The sitter dressed in Welsh costume is named as ‘Mrs. Price of Three Horse Shoes, Llanwrda’.

The carte-de-visite photograph was taken ca.1900 by Edward Richard Gyde, an Aberystwyth photographer with studios in Pier Street and Terrace Road.


  • Mari Alderman, 2006, Victorian Professional Photographers in Wales 1850-1925,  Genuki: UK & Ireland Genealogy
  • Siani Pob Man (1834-1917), Ceredigion Library Local History Resources - Authors and Characters, Ceredigion County Council, 2009