Robert Coltman Clephan

Robert Coltman Clephan was born on 8 November 1839 at Grove House, Gateshead. He was the son of Joseph Clephan and Mary Coltman.

He was educated at Newcastle Grammar School. In his youth he was an active volunteer and became a captain in one of the Durham Rifle Corps. His business career began at Boldemann, Borries and Company where he worked as a cashier for five years. He started his own business – Clephan and Wiencke – an iron and mineral merchants and commission agents. He also served as an agent for Armstrong, Whitworth and Co.

In 1869, he married Elizabeth, the daughter of John Foster Spence of North Shields. Elizabeth died in 1914, leaving Clephan with four sons and six daughters.

Clephan’s principal area of study was medieval armour. He built up a fine collection of his own, and was recognised as an authority on the subject. He wrote extensively on arms and armour. Some of his publications have included:

Clephan was also interested in firearms. Some of his publications on firearms have included;

Clephan travelled extensively in Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden and mastered all of the languages spoken in those countries.

In his later years his interests turned toward Egyptology and Egyptian antiquities. He was fascinated with the exploration of Egypt and travelled there many times. Clephan also prepared catalogues of Egyptian objects, ancient lamps and Greek Pottery for the Society of Antiquaries, where he was a Fellow.

On 21 March 1922 Robert Clephan died at his home, Marine House, in Tynemouth.