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Clay, Edward Williamslocked

(19 April 1799–31 December 1857)
  • Nancy R. Davison


Clay, Edward Williams (19 April 1799–31 December 1857), artist and political cartoonist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Clay, a sea captain, and Eliza Williams. Clay, whose father died when he was five, was reared in the house of his grandfather, Curtis Clay, a Philadelphia merchant. Members of the Clay and Curtis families were educated, prosperous, and prominent as merchants and ministers during the eighteenth century and as bankers, lawyers, and politicians during the early nineteenth century. Clay received a liberal education, read law, and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1825. His interest and training in art probably began after his mother’s brief marriage in 1814 to Joseph Anthony, a goldsmith and jeweler. Goldsmiths and silversmiths often engraved their work and engraved metal plates for printing. Although he served no known formal apprenticeship, Clay had learned the basics of engraving before he went to Europe to study art in 1825....

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