Francis Crawshay's Workers

The sixteen men in these little portraits all worked for Francis Crawshay (1811-1878), a reluctant industrialist, who maintained unusually close personal relationships with his employees. In the mid-1830s, Francis was in charge of the Hirwaun Ironworks, acquired by his father, the great ironmaster William Crawshay II, in 1819, and of the family’s recently enlarged tinplate works at Treforest, near Pontypridd.

The group includes both skilled and unskilled workers as well as managers, and all are depicted as standing figures in a landscape, in working clothes and with the tools of their trade. Although the wealthy sometimes commissioned portraits of their domestic servants, no other such images of industrial workers are known.

The pictures are believed to be by William Jones Chapman (c.1808-after 1871), a travelling portrait and sporting painter who worked mostly in Wales and the border counties. The group passed by descent in the Crawshay family, and may originally have been even larger.

Attributed to William Jones Chapman (c.1808-after 1871), sixteen portraits of employees of Francis Crawshay (1811-1878) at the Hirwaun Iron Works and the Treforest Tinplate works, about 1835-40.
Given by Miss Sylvia Crawshay, 2012


Stephen Cornwall
26 January 2019, 22:00
absolutely fantastic ,I have walked in and around Hirwaun ironworks for years ,to think some of these men walked there so many years before is unbelievable.
Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
3 February 2017, 16:21

Hi there Lillian,

That's fantastic - what a great family record to have, they are such simple but beautiful paintings!

You can request an image from our Print Shop - they ship world-wide and you can choose from paper, canvas etc.

Simply follow the instructions on the page and email your request to the address we've provided there.

All the best, and thanks for your enquiry,

Digital Team

Lillian (Williams) Palko
3 February 2017, 15:40
The 13th portrait showing David Williams, carpenter, Treforest is very likely my 2nd great grandfather. Are there any postcards or media from these portraits that I can purchase?

Thank you,
Sara Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
26 October 2016, 11:36

Hi there Judith,

To answer your question: The Crawshay works are currently in store but we can make an appointment to see them in store. Appointments are available with two weeks notice between Tuesday-Friday: contact us

Thanks again for your enquiry



Digital Team

Sara Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
20 October 2016, 10:13

Hi there Judith,

Thanks for your comment - I'll pass on your enquiry to our Art Department and get back to you.

Best wishes

Digital Team

Judith Lucas
19 October 2016, 18:46
Where can I see these Crawshay workers portraits now?
Peter Squires
10 August 2016, 11:46
I had family who were tinplate rollers during the mid C19th so it's interesting to see what they might have looked like!
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