Joseph Lycett

  • Jocelyn Hackforth-Jones


Born in Staffordshire England, Lycett, who was by profession a portrait and miniature painter, was found guilty of forgery at Salop Assizes on 10 August 1811 and sentenced to fourteen years transportation. He arrived in Sydney on the General Hewitt in February 1814 and was straight away made a clerk at the Police Office. There he formed a friendship with a fellow named Dale—a relationship which was to prove disastrous for them both. It was Dale no doubt who procured the small copperplate press which Lycett used to forge five-shilling bills. Probably his skill and precision as a miniature painter stood him in good stead for this venture—a doubtful advantage according to the Sydney Gazette (3 June 1815) ‘… A Mr. Lycett, who, unfortunately for the world as well as for himself, had obtained sufficient knowledge of the graphic arts to aid him in the practice of deception, in which he has outdone most of hispredecessors, the painting type used in such billshad been so well imitated in copper plate as to deceive the eye upon a slight glance.’


National Library Harsh Discipline Painting Type Fellow Countryman Late Excursion 
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© Text, Jocelyn Hackforth-Jones 1977

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  • Jocelyn Hackforth-Jones

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