London Stereoscopic Company - Photographer
54 Cheapside, E. C., London, England
There were two men - a father and son - by the name of Richard Clay who served in the 3rd Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps. I believe that the man in this photo (identified on the reverse and "Capt. R. Clay 3rd Mx") is the father. The photograph would seem to date from the early 1880s period when Clay was still a captain in the 3rd Middlesex Rifle
Volunteers. He was born around 1840 and was the proprietor of the respected firm of Richard Clay & Sons, Ltd., a printing and publishing house. He would have been in his early 40s when this photograph was taken.
Richard Clay served as a lieutenant in the 13th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps prior to transferring to the 3rd Middlesex. He was appointed captain on 6 September 1876 and then major on 15 March 1884. In the 19 July 1887 issue of the London Gazette Clay was granted the honorary rank of lieutenant-colonel in the 3rd Middlesex Rifle Volunteers. On 16 November 1889 Clay resigned his commission but was granted the right to retain his rank and wear the volunteer's uniform after his retirement.
Richard Clay was married to Margaret Pheobe Miles and they had at least 6 children. Richard Clay died on 24 May 1890 and left the family a estate valued at the rater staggering sum (for that time) of £26,570 12s. 10d.! Clay - seemingly a man of varied talents - had also applied for a patent on 30 November 1867 for "improvements in breach-loading firearms".
The younger Richard Clay joined the 3rd Middlesex Rifle Volunteers sometime prior to 1887 when he is mentioned in the Haileybury School Register as serving with the regiment. I at first though that this was the man in the photo but it seemed highly unlikely that the younger Clay, barely 20 at the time, would have been considered for promotion to the rank of major in 1884.