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Clint, Raphael (1797–1849)

by Nancy Gray

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

Raphael Clint (1797-1849), engraver, was born in Hereford, England, one of four artist sons of George Clint, A.R.A. (1770-1854), miniature-painter and engraver. In 1829 he arrived in Western Australia in the Calista and was appointed to the Survey Department. Although without previous experience he carried out surveys along the Swan, Canning and Kalgan Rivers until 1832, when Governor (Sir) James Stirling reduced his salary. Clint resigned immediately and with his wife Mary Ann, who arrived in the Stirling in 1831, left the colony for Van Diemen's Land, where he was appointed temporarily to the Survey Department.

While he was in charge of a chain-gang at Bridgewater in 1834 his wife's illicit trafficking with soldiers became the subject of official investigation. Despite Clint's denial of any share in her activities he was dismissed forthwith. He and his wife then went to Sydney, where in 1835 he began business as a seal-engraver and surveyor. In the next twelve years, as a copper-plate engraver and lithographer, Clint produced many fine maps, charts and plans of Australia and New Zealand, which were prepared with the co-operation of surveyors and naval draughtsmen. He engraved copper plaques for tombstone memorials and silver for domestic use, designed door-plates for town houses and sundials for country estates, published the caricatures of Gother Kerr Mann and cut intaglio seals for Baron de Thierry. At the 1849 Exhibition of Fine Arts in Sydney Clint exhibited two classical intaglios. His assistant, John Carmichael, and his apprentice, John Allen, were also competent engravers and lithographers.

Clint's most significant work was the design and engraving of the first signed armorial book-plates produced in New South Wales. More than twenty of these survive, precisely emblazoned and skilfully engraved. Among his clients in this fashionable field were James and William Macarthur, Charles Nicholson, James Street, John Dowling and William Edward Riley. Various examples of his work are preserved in the Mitchell Library and two of his sundials still stand.

At first prosperous, Clint took an active part in the public life of Sydney, helped to organize a Mutual Benefit Insurance Society, acted on various committees and, as a Roman Catholic, subscribed to the memorial to Governor Sir Richard Bourke and to the presentation to Roger Therry. He attacked, often rashly, practices which he considered dishonest, frequently castigating in the press those who offended him. His business declined during the depression years and in 1847 he was declared insolvent. He died in Sydney, without issue, on 13 September 1849, survived by his wife.

Although Raphael Clint was a man of quick temper, poor judgment and little business sense, he was a talented craftsman whose work endures, illustrating in its range and quality one field of cultural development at this period in the colony.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of Australia, series 3, vol 6
  • M. Bryan, Biographical and Critical Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, vol 1 (Lond, 1903)
  • New South Wales Government Gazette, 22 Oct 1847
  • J. Lane Mullins, book plate collection (State Library of New South Wales).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Nancy Gray, 'Clint, Raphael (1797–1849)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/clint-raphael-1904/text2251, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 13 December 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

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