Sub-fonds GB 0210 GM - Ifor & Joy Thomas Collection : Photographs

Identity area

Reference code

GB 0210 GM


Ifor & Joy Thomas Collection : Photographs


  • [ca.1930-ca.1965] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

ca. 300 photographs : b&w ; x mm. or smaller

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The following biographical detail is taken from a number of sources, especially through conversation with Mrs Jennifer Duncan, a niece of Joy Thomas (nee Williams). Joy and Ifor Thomas were married in 1939. Prior to this Joy, who was brought up in Blaenavon, had studied at Leicester College of Art and graduated in 1936. The following year she gained a teaching qualification. She was then fortunate to win a £150 'Travellers Prize' for her work in design from the RCA. This she used to fund a trip to Jamaica from July -October 1937. She sailed there on 'Eros' a banana boat along with two medical students, a minister of religion and a lady from Scotland. Ifor graduated from the RCA and subsequently is believed to have studied at Southampton in 1934 and subsequently went to work at the Reimann School of Photography, which had opened in Regency Street, Pimlico in 1937. With the commencement of hostilities the school closed in 1940. In August 1940 Ifor (Able Seaman Gunlayer C/JX 222196) joined the Royal Navy and was initially assigned to a shore base HMS Pembroke in Chatham. His roles included serving on merchant vessels as a gunlayer, instructor and stores officer. He was subsequently transferred to an establishment in Liverpool.Joy stayed in Guildford until 1943 when she and Sian (born in May 1943) moved to Orrell Park. . In 1942 she had been instrumental in the design of murals for the British Restaurant in Guildford, opened June 20th 1942 and the subject of an article in The Listener 27th April 1944. Ifor was de-mobbed in July 1945 and the three moved back to Guildford, settling into Hamshere Cottage in Wonersh, Guildford. Ifor commenced teaching at Guildford. Of particular note were his Thursday morning critique sessions when students were invited to bring in their best work from the previous week. Apparently the ultimate compliment that could be paid to a student was to be requested to furnish Ifor Thomas with an enlargement of a particular work, presumably to use as a teaching aid. Some works can be attributed to individual students / staff at Guildford (eg Ian Chipman, Alfred Lammer) but most are anonymous. Both taught at Guildford through the 1950s. A prospectus for Guildford School of Art for 1957-8 lista Ifor Thomas as Head of Department and Joy under Visiting Staff. Ifor Thomas died at the age of 49 in June 1961, Joy three years later on 13th August 1964 aged 56.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Jack & Rita Tait; Donation

Content and structure area

Scope and content

A variety of photographic prints acquired by Ifor & Joy Thomas. Although they are assumed to be the creators of these prints most are anonymous and cannot be definitely attributed.These arrived in NLW in three containers, a large black portfolio, a smaller brown portfolio and a large shoe box.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Access to the original work by authorised permission only. Users are directed to use the digital image.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

[graphic] :

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Related descriptions

Notes area


Title and date supplied by cataloguer.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number


Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Archivist's note

Compiled by W Troughton.

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

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