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Samuel Clayton

** community contributed record **

Name, Aliases & Gender

Name: Samuel Clayton
Aliases: none
Gender: m

Birth, Occupation & Death

Date of Birth: 1783
Occupation: Engraver
Date of Death: 1853
Age: 70 years

Life Span

Life span

Male median life span was 53 years*

* Median life span based on contributions

Conviction & Transportation

Sentence Severity

Sentence Severity

Sentenced to 7 years

Crime: Forgery
Convicted at: Ireland, Dublin City
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Surrey or Surry
Departure date: 14th July, 1816
Arrival date: 20th December, 1816
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 62 other convicts


Primary source: http://members.pcug.org.au/
Source description:

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Community Contributions

Nell Murphy on 2nd December, 2015 wrote:

Samuel Clayton was convicted at Dublin and given a 7yr sentence in 1815. Transported to New South Wales, Australia on the “Surrey” in 1816.

Aged 33yrs, engraver and miniature painter. From Dublin City.

Phil Hands on 13th May, 2018 wrote:

Tried and convicted in Dublin in 1815, for forgery, Sentenced to 7 years transportation.
Left Cork on 14th July 1816.
Ship:- the ‘Surrey I’ sailed with 150 male convicts on board, there were no reported deaths for the voyage.
Arrived on 20th December 1816.

Portraitist, engraver, art teacher and silversmith, he 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 4th 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 15th August 1818 he was stating that he had ‘a variety of jewellery and silver work on hand’ and was buying old silver.

Samuel had engraved the banknotes for the Bank of New South Wales when it opened its doors on 8th 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 4th 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, Samuel 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.

Samuel received his ticket of leave on 1st 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 Samuel 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 aged 70, 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 Samuel’s surviving work is on silver. Attributed to him are two trowels, 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 Samuel, but this remains unproven.

Samuel 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 Samuel 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.

In 1818 he received his Certificate of Pardon, and in 1824 his Certificate of Freedom.

Convict Changes History

Nell Murphy on 2nd December, 2015 made the following changes:

convicted at, term: 7 years, voyage, source: http://members.pcug.org.au/ (prev. ), firstname: Samuel, surname: Clayton, alias1: , alias2: , alias3: , alias4: , date of birth: 1783, date of death: 0000, gender: m, occupation, crime

Phil Hands on 13th May, 2018 made the following changes:

date of death: 1853 (prev. 0000), crime

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