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Samuel Elyard

1817 - 1910

Samuel was born on 9 May 1817 on the Isle of Wight. He was educated at Mr Gilchrist's school and the Australian College where he showed talent at portrait painting. He then studied under Conrad Martens and taught drawing. He sought secure employment and on 16 April 1837 was appointed an extra clerk in the colonial secretary's office. On 1 January 1846 he was promoted to second clerk, from which position he was retired on 18 August 1868 with a pension. From his twenties, when he studied under John Skinner Prout, he specialized in landscape painting in water-colours and oils: he 'always painted his studies directly from nature in colours, and of a large size'. He exhibited in Sydney in 1847 and 1857 and in Paris in 1867. Some of his works are in the Dixson galleries, Sydney. Interested in photography, he himself printed and published facsimiles of his work as Scenery of Shoalhaven (Nowra, 1892).


In the 1840s Samuel became mentally disturbed and his brother arranged frequent leave in the country. On 10 April 1849, while delirious from drugs, he went through a form of marriage with Angelina Mary Hughes Hallett, née Scott, an alleged prostitute. He later repudiated the marriage on the ground of his insanity and accused her of blackmail. He published many pamphlets to vindicate himself and, at the same time, to convert the Jews to Protestantism. In mid-1857 he started a journal, the Salem Standard, and imported a press with Hebrew type. He suffered from prophetic and royal delusions, but moderated after his retirement and became an Anglican lay preacher and a justice of the peace. He died at Nowra on 23 October 1910.
M. J. Saclier, 'Elyard, Samuel (1817 - 1910)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition, Copyright 2006