R4172 Sketch of convict Ikey Solomon



This is a black-and-white image of a convict, Isaac ('Ikey') Solomon.

Acknowledgements: Reproduced courtesy of Archives Office of Tasmania.

Educational value
This asset depicts Ikey Solomon - born in London's East End in about 1785, Solomon was a pickpocket by the age of ten; as an adult, he recruited children in London, gave them food and shelter and trained them as pickpockets in exchange for stolen goods, which he then sold; by the mid-1820s he was one of the biggest 'fences' in London; Charles Dickens based the character of Fagin in his novel 'Oliver Twist' on Solomon, and several books have been written about him, including 'The first Fagin' by Judith Sackville-O'Donnell and 'Prince of fences: The life and crimes of Ikey Solomons' by J J Tobias.
It shows an infamous convict - Solomon had been imprisoned in a hulk in England for six years and released before being arrested again in 1827 and sent to Newgate Gaol; he escaped while on his way to a police office and fled to New York; his wife, Hannah, was found guilty of receiving stolen goods and transported to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), so Ikey travelled to Hobart to be with her, arriving in 1831; he was soon recognised by convicts and re-arrested.
It depicts a man whose attempts to avoid returning to England to face trial were lampooned in the Hobart press - Ikey's lawyer argued that the colony had no power to arrest him and hearings were adjourned, but these tactics failed and he was taken back to London to be tried.
It shows Ikey Solomon - Ikey spent time in Richmond Gaol and at Port Arthur in Van Diemen's Land; in 1835 he was finally permitted to live with his family but the couple separated and remained separated for some time; Ikey died in Hobart in 1850 and Hannah moved to Melbourne, where she died in 1877.
© Curriculum Corporation, 2008, except where indicated under Acknowledgements