Artist (Painter), (Printmaker), Portraitist, engraver, art teacher and silversmith born in Ireland. Transported to NSW, reputedly for forgery, he prospered in the colony.
Biographical Data b. 1783 Dublin, Ireland
Biography 1 biography
Associates 14 people
Groups 2 groups
Works 11 works
Collections 3 collections
References 13 references
Version history | Talk | Updated Oct. 19, 2011 | Created Jan. 1, 1992
Biography (855 words)
portraitist, engraver, art teacher and silversmith, was the eldest of the three sons of the Dublin engraver Benjamin Clayton and his first wife. All three Clayton sons were trained as engravers by their father and worked in Dublin. Prints by Samuel were included in Anthologia Hibernica (Dublin 1793-94) and he is known to have painted miniatures. Samuel was transported to New South Wales from Dublin for seven years, reputedly for forgery, arriving in the Surrey in 1816. He first advertised his services in the Sydney Gazette on 4 January 1817, offering to take likenesses 'either in full or in profile’. Ten days later he was proposing to give instruction 'in ornamental painting and drawing’ as well as engraving and miniature painting. On 15 August 1818 he was stating that he had 'A variety of jewellery and silver work on hand’ and was buying old silver.
Clayton had engraved the banknotes for the Bank of New South Wales when it opened its doors on 8 April 1817, having been directed in February to prepare the copperplates needed for the bank’s five denominations (ranging from 2s 6d to £5). He also engraved the first banknotes for the Van Diemen’s Land Bank and the $1 and $2 notes for the Lachlan and Waterloo Mills Companies in 1822. Another of his multifarious activities was making silhouette portraits. On 4 November 1820 he advertised in the Sydney Gazette that he now had 'ready for practice, a much improved machine for taking likenesses, in profile, on a most correct principle, and in a few minutes, at ten shillings each, on Bristol Card, such as is now the London style, and particularly portable, as they may be conveyed in letters to relatives or friends, without injury, to any part of the world’.
When visiting Australia en route to China in about 1818, Charles Izard Manigault of the Charleston, South Carolina, family, wrote: 'I had some of my visiting cards engraved by one of those talented convicts, S. Clayton of New South Wales, by placing my signature with its usual flourish in his hand, he imitated it and engraved it perfectly, for he was sent here from England for forging the name of another … too tricky to remain at home. He also did several hundred of my Coat of Arms, now my book plates’. (Manigault later had the coat of arms copied onto a porcelain plate, or dinner service, in China.)
Clayton received his ticket of leave on 1 October 1824, and married Jane Lofthouse by special licence two weeks later. This was his third marriage. In Ireland he had married Jane Maguire, then Emma Johnson (in 1807). His colonial wife also predeceased him, in 1829. Two years later Clayton was offering his business for sale, including 'a brass machine for taking profile likenesses, and a camera obscura’, yet he continued to work in Sydney. An advertisement in July 1832 detailed a lithographic press 'with a set of very superior German stones (many of which are 16 × 22 inches [40 × 55 cm])’ which Mr Clayton, engraver and jeweller of 24 Pitt Street, had for sale. He was still working as an engraver at this address in December 1833 and possibly in 1834. He moved to Windsor in 1835, presumably to be near his son by his first marriage, Dr Benjamin Clayton . That he had prospered in the colony is evident by the fact that in 1839 he was one of the proprietors of the Bank of New South Wales. When he died at Gunning in 1853 he left an estate worth £1000 to Benjamin.
Apart from an oil profile portrait of the engineer William Roberts (1851, QVMAG) and his stamp designs (including the original 'harbour bridge’ stamp of 1849), most of Clayton’s surviving work is on silver. Attributed to him are two trowels (ML), one engraved for Lieutenant-Governor Erskine in 1823 as a present from the Sydney Masonic Lodge, the other presented to Governor Macquarie after he laid the foundation stone of the Sydney Roman Catholic Chapel with it in 1821. Both incorporate masonic details in the engraving. Three medals presented to students at the Sydney Grammar School between 1822 and 1824 are also known, the first inscribed to Francis Lord by his schoolmaster, Laurence Halloran, the second to Henry Halloran and the third to Charles Driver. Spoons marked 'S.C.’ with an anchor are in private collections. It has been suggested that an Irish two-handled cup presented to Mr Emmett as owner of the winning horse Rob Roy in the Hyde Park race of 1819 was engraved by Clayton, but this remains unproven.
Clayton gave evidence at the trial of the silversmith Alexander Dick in 1829, stating that he 'rather thought’ the dessert spoons Dick was accused of receiving had been made locally. The trial records include a letter from James Garfield, a London silversmith transported for forging hallmarks, who stated that neither James Robertson (another witness) nor Clayton ever manufactured silver plate, that they were dealers only. Yet Clayton was certainly an active engraver, and as he was buying old silver in 1818, he possibly made some pieces. Writers:Houstone, John Neville, Richard Date written:1992Last updated:2011 - (Ref- http://www.daao.org.au/bio/samuel-clayton/biography/).
Centre for Australian Art - Australian Prints + Printmaking
S. Clayton, engraver, copper-plate printer, jeweller & silversmith.
Author - Clayton, S.
Source - Sydney Gazette (Sydney)
Details - 4 February1826, p.3, col.5.] - Publication date - 4 February, 1826
Language - English
Country of context - Australia
S. CLAYTON, ENGRAVER, COPPER-PLATE PRINTER, JEWELLER, & SILVERSMITH.
No. 23, PITT-STREET, SYDNEY,
BEGS Leave to return his Thanks to his Friends and Customers, both in Sydney and the Country, for the liberal Support they have afforded him since his first Establishment in the above Branches, and trusts that he will still merit the constituance of their Patronage, by his strict Attention to their Orders, and by keeping for Sale a choice and fashionable assortment of Articles of Jewellery, &c. on the most reasonable Terms, comprising gold seals, chains, keys, brooches, wedding-rings, pins, ear-rings, lockets and neck chains, silver cups, watches, table, dessert, tea, salt, and egg spoons. Also, a variety of ladies fancy work boxes, purses, silver thimbles, French perfumery, &c. &c.
N.B. - Best Price for Old gold and Silver, Diamonds, Pearls, &c. &c. Gold and Silver Work repaired. [Sydney Gazette (Sydney), 4 February1826, p.3, col.5.] - (Ref- http://www.printsandprintmaking.gov.au/references/8650/).