The James Valentine Collection is the photographic production of a business which began operation in 1851 in Dundee, Scotland. Although many people think of Valentine’s as postcard publishers, they produced several types of photographic products.
There’s a very comprehensive history in the collection that charts the rise and fall of the business.
I have quite a few Valentine’s postcards and it was interesting to discover the original photos that were used to produce them.
The Taff Gorge
This fantastic view, looking north up the Taff Gorge, shows the Garth, Walnut Tree Viaduct and Castell Coch with Tongwynlais in the foreground. The photo was registered in 1954.
I have a postcard that uses a similar view but this image shows much more of the surrounding landscape.
At its height, Valentine’s collection of original monochrome negatives was the largest and most universal ever established in Great Britain.
Their logo and wordmarks are distinctive, combining two globes above a large “V”. The globes were simplified and then removed in later revisions.
The alphanumeric monochrome “W Series” is a collection of views and postcards from across Wales. There were 8,642 titles registered for this series. These images were taken between 1934 and 1966. Records of when each photo was registered exist so dating these images is quite easy.
This photo of Castell Coch was registered in 1939 and shows a gentleman standing at the top of the drawbridge. I have a postcard that uses this image but it wasn’t posted.
Postcards of Castell Coch
This view of Castell Coch above the River Taff was registered in 1957.
I have a few postcards that use a photo with the reference, “W5681”, which doesn’t appear to be in St Andrew’s collection. This may appear in the next “Postcards of Castell Coch” article.
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The James Valentine Photographic Collection at the University of St Andrews is a fantastic resource that’s well worth exploring. The Valentine Views of Wales Series contains pictures from all over Wales. These are the images used in this article: