Clay, Alfred Borron (DNB00)

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CLAY, ALFRED BORRON (1831–1868), painter, born 3 June 1831 at Walton, near Preston, Lancashire, was the second son of the Rev. John Clay [q. v.], the well-known chaplain of Preston gaol, and Henrietta Fielding, his wife. He was educated at the Preston grammar school, but also received instruction from his father, who added to his other merits that of being an accomplished artist. Clay was intended for the legal profession, and was articled to a solicitor at Preston, but having great love of art decided on quitting his profession and becoming a painter. A portrait of his mother removing the doubts of his parents as to the advisability of this step, he went to Liverpool to study in 1852, and later in the same year became a student of the Royal Academy in London. In 1854 he exhibited for the first time, sending to the British Institution 'Finishing Bleak House,' and to the Royal Academy 'Nora Creina' and 'Margaret Ramsay;' in 1855 he sent to the Royal Academy a portrait of his father, and continued to contribute to the same exhibition regularly up to the time of his death. The chief pictures painted by him were 'The Imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots at Lochleven Castle,' exhibited in 1861; 'Charles IX and the French Court at the Massacre of St. Bartholomew,' exhibited in 1865; and 'The Return to Whitehall, 29 May 1660,' exhibited in 1807, and now in the Walker Gallery at Liverpool. This was his last work of importance, as his health failed about this time, and he died at Rainhill, near Liverpool, on 1 Oct. 1868, aged 37, just at the commencement of a very promising career. On 9 April 1856 he married Elizabeth Jane Fayrer, who survived him, and by whom he left a family.

[Redgrave's Dict, of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760-1880; Memoir of the Rev. John Clay; Catalogues of the Royal Academy, &c.; private information.]

L. C.