Harold Clayton was born in London in 1896. He came from an artistic family and was sent to art school in Hackney at an early age.
After graduating with distinction, he moved to Harrow Art School and completed the course, once again, with distinction. From here he was sent to Hornsey College of Art where he studied graphic design and commercial art - graduating, as ever, with distinction (even though he was not particularly enamoured of this art form). Finally, he went to St. Martins School of Art where he studied under the celebrated Art Master Norman Jones.
Meticulous attention to detail and his love of the garden were the two predominant forces which shaped his painting. Although he was a master of many mediums it is primarily for still life flower paintings that he became famous. This is ironic as he completed relatively few flower paintings in his life. He painted approximately one painting per month, which accounts for both the scarcity of his still life paintings and their quality.