A portrait photograph of an unknown man and woman has been found by Llanelli resident Julie Phillips whilst walking her dogs (October 2011). Julie spotted the framed photo, 12" x 15" (300mm x 380mm), on the open land between 92 and 94 Felinfoel Road. Fascinated by the clothes and the era, Julie contacted Llanelli Community Heritage and handed the photo in to see if anyone can identify the people.
Although the couple have not as yet been identified, written on the mount is:
H. A. Chapman Swansea
Reference to the National Library of Wales Aberystwyth does reveal some information about the photographer Henry Alfred Chapman.
Henry Alfred Chapman (1844-1915) was born in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, in 1844 and educated at Lincoln Grammar School. The Chapman family settled in Swansea in 1860. His father, Samuel Palmer Chapman, opened a photographic studio in York Street and later in High Street. Henry himself later moved to No. 235 High Street to set up his own shop, studio and family home. Both Henry and his father were among the first commercial photographers in Swansea.
In his early years, basic technical changes were regularly transforming photography and he always remained an experimenter. He produced the extremely popular card-backed portraits named 'cartes-de-visite.' They were sold at 2/- each for over 13 years.
In 1870 he was appointed Government photographer for Glamorgan. He won many prizes and awards for his photography, including six first prizes in the National Eisteddfod in Merthyr Tydfil in 1901. He was very industrious during his lengthy career. By 1908, he had an impressive stock of 350,000 glass negatives.
His love of drawing and painting was also evident throughout his life. He was an enthusiastic portrait painter and offered this service alongside his photographic work. He worked mainly in oils and painted many notable Welshmen from the area such as Sir John Dillwyn Llewelyn and William Thomas of Lan. In the 1870s he became the principal artist for the local monthly The Swansea boy.
He was elected to the Council in 1881 and served as councillor and Poor Law Guardian for twenty years. In 1892 he was elected Mayor of Swansea.
If anyone has any information regarding this photograph please do contact us.