At the height of its prosperity in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Penllergare estate was an outstanding example of a picturesque, romantic landscape. Its creator was John Dillwyn Llewelyn (1810 – 82), a man distinguished for his contribution to landscape design and horticulture, and also for his scientific experiments and pioneering photography.
“Penllergare provided inspiration for the expression of all these talents. John exploited the majestic natural beauty of the site in his grand design to create an idyllic landscape planted with a rich variety of trees, shrubs and exotic plants. He erected one of the country’s first Orchid Houses within the grounds, an Observatory was built close to the mansion house, experiments with an electrically-powered boat built by John himself were conducted on the Lower Lake.
Penllergare with its lakes and waterfalls, panoramic vistas and secret places, and horticultural and botanical riches lured many distinguished visitors to the estate. Among those with scientific interests were Charles Wheatstone, with whom John conducted experiments on electrical under-water telegraphy, Charles Babbage, the inventor of a computing machine, and Henry Fox Talbot, the cousin of John’s wife Emma (nee Talbot).
Inspired by Henry Fox Talbot’s early photographic experiments, John Dillwyn Llewelyn became an enthusiastic and accomplished photographer. Penllergare provided an infinite variety of subjects for his camera, and his superb photographic images vividly evoke the past glories of his Victorian Paradise.”
Extract from “Penllergare A Victorian Paradise” by Richard Morris
See the Penllergare Trust’s website www.penllergare.org for further information