The artist was born into a Quaker family in Glastonbury, Somerset, and during his childhood in Bath, he was taught by Augustin Edouart (1796-1861), the best French exponent of silhouette profiles.

In 1834 he emigrated to New York, and worked assidiously in the main centres of Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and Saratoga Springs, becoming a naturalised American citizen.  Family reference materials show that his charges for a full body profile were $1.75 and $1.50 for sitting profile, with children being half price.  He was to produce thousands of these each year, moving from city to city. He signed his silhouettes as either S Metford or Sam'l Metford.

He had returned to England (1844) and was living at 6 North Parade, Penzance, as a lodger (aged 40) when the Census of 1851 was taken, sharing alongside one Guillaume Thomazie, a Professor of French and Italian from Vannes, France. By 1853 he had moved to Congresbury, Somerset to care for his blind father.

There are many examples of his work throughout the US and the UK, and especially in the South West of Britain. He embellished his work in gold, yellow-ochre or Chinese white [Peggy McClard ref]

The artist died at Weston super Mare.