Joseph Clayton Clarke (1857 — 8 August 1937), who worked under the pseudonym "Kyd," was a British artist best known for his illustrations of characters from the novels of Charles Dickens.
Born in Onchan on the Isle of Man, the son of Captain Joseph Clarke of the British Army and Rosanna France, who was born at Gibraltar. Clarke had many occupations during his lifetime, including designer of cigarette cards and postcards, and as a fore-edge painter principally specializing in characters from the works of Charles Dickens. He worked for Punch for only one day and then as a freelance artist until 1900.
Clarke's illustrations from Dickens first appeared in 1887 in Fleet Street Magazine, with two published collections appearing shortly after as The Characters of Charles Dickens (1889) and Some Well Known Characters from the Works of Charles Dickens (1892). Early in the twentieth century five sets of postcards based on his Dickens drawings were published, as well as seven sets of non-Dickensian comic cards.
From 1927, Clarke earned his living from watercolor sketches, mainly of Dickens' characters, which he sold to and through the London book trade. Frederic G. Kitton referred to Clarke in his book Dickens and His Illustrators (1890), by which time Clarke's watercolors were already being bought by major Dickens collectors. The auction of the Dickens collection of F W Cosens FSA of Clapham Park, held at Christie's on 17 May 1890, sold a collection of 241 of Clarke's Dickens watercolors, and Tom Wilson, at the time the foremost collector of Dickens, owned 331 of Clarke's drawings.
"As a character 'Kyd' emulated those of Dickens and his own illustrations – slightly larger than life. In his style and dress he was mildly flamboyant for the period. He seldom varied his attire from a grey suit, spats, homburg hat, gloves and was never without a carnation or substitute flower in his button hole."
Apart from his Dickens work, "Kyd" also illustrated humorous series such as Some Typical Newspaper Readers (c.1900), The Book and Its Reader, and London Types. He also illustrated a series of 50 smokers for Gallaher Ltd.; this series was issued as a set of cigarette cards entitled 'Votaries of the Weed' in 1916.