RARE INSIGHT INTO ANTIQUARIAN PUBLISHING HISTORY
FISHER, Thomas (1772–1836), artist and antiquary. Autograph letter signed to ‘My Dear Friend’ [John Gough Nichols], 4 sides of a bifolium, 8vo, Glos’ter Terrace., Nov 21 1835, informing him that “the most alarming symptoms in my sister’s illness are considerably abated” and reporting on antiquarian projects “I have been looking through my Stratford papers & found that I have a copy of the Charter of Henry 6th, & the inventory of the Gild property of that date, as well as the indenture about the coals ……these with Myngham the first Mayor of Rochester will nearly make you a number of the Collectanea; & if you think you should like to use them , let me know & I will bring them all to Parliament Street ……. While I was in Kent I made drawings of Sutton Castle, & of Motynden & brought with me an impression of the seal of the sub conservator …… these may be of use to you for the Magazine ….. I hope to get forward with the services & to give you Martins Colonies; Missions; & China & other Foreign Policies for next month ….” [plus reference to writing another article, not easily readable]. Couple of small losses to paper edges.
Fisher is best-known for drawings recording interior church monuments, while most of his literary work was published in the Gentleman's Magazine. His account of the Stratford guild appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine in 1835, and a reprint by John Gough Nichols of his Stratford illustrations with some additional plates was published the following year, after his death. He was a regular contributor until his death but many of his book reviews and memoirs were published anonymously and can only be identified from the publisher's files. He wrote several memoirs of Anglo-Indians and missionaries, and was said to have been a frequent contributor to the Asiatic Journal, and the European Magazine occasionally published items from him.
Fisher never married and lived for most of his life with his sister Jane in the Hoxton district of Shoreditch, London, from at least 1804 until about 1820, and then at 6 Gloucester Terrace. Fisher died at Stoke Newington, Middlesex. His extensive collection of drawings, prints, and books was sold by auction (at Southgates on 15 March and from 31 August, and by Evans from 30 May 1837) and dispersed. (ODNB)
Fisher’s correspondent was John Gough Nichols (1806–1873), a printer and antiquary, and a member of a family of printers and publishers known for their books on local history and antiquarian scholarship. Nichols was at this time a joint editor of the Gentleman's Magazine, and was founding editor of the Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica 1834–43 (the Collectanea are mentioned in the letter). He was himself a prolific author of antiquarian publications. (ODNB)