The Dillwyn Family

These 3 early career Prize Medal medals are named in honour of the distinguished Swansea based Dillwyn family who achieved outstanding distinction across several fields of intellectual activity, both in the arts and sciences.

The Dillwyn family’s association with Wales dates back to the 18th century and the arrival of the Abolitionist campaigner, William Dillwyn. His son, the talented botanist Lewis Weston Dillwyn, published several important scientific studies in addition to producing fine artistic pottery and porcelain. Lewis, who was  a Fellow of the Royal Society, created at his home at Penllergare and later at Sketty Hall “a cultural climate in which all his children, boys and girls, could flourish, and could pursue their scientific and artistic interests without limitations of time and expense”. In 1848, he helped host the first British Association for the Advancement of Science to take place in Wales.

Lewis’s son, John Dillwyn Llewellyn excelled in a number of technological and academic fields including photography, botany and astronomy. Several members of the family used the Penllergare estate as a base for their various interests in science, astronomy, politics, botany, photography and philanthropy.

Unusually for the era, women also played a prominent role in science and business. These included Mary Dillwyn who was Wales’ first female photographer, Thereza Dillwyn Llewellyn an astronomer and photographer, and Amy Dillwyn, an early female industrialist and an iconoclastic novelist.