ROYAL FAMILY – ST GEORGE'S CHAPEL AND PRINCESS CHARLOTTE Papers of John Fisher, successively Bishop of Exeter and Bishop of Salisbury, overseer of the redecoration of St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 1790 and superintendent of the education of Princess Charlotte
Lot 48
Papers of John Fisher, successively Bishop of Exeter and Bishop of Salisbury, overseer of the redecoration of St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 1790 and superintendent of the education of Princess Charlotte, comprising autograph letters, a file of papers pertaining to the redecoration of the chapel, some thirty autograph letters by Princess Charlotte of Wales and much else
Sold for £8,750 (US$ 11,705) inc. premium

Lot Details
ROYAL FAMILY – ST GEORGE'S CHAPEL AND PRINCESS CHARLOTTE Papers of John Fisher, successively Bishop of Exeter and Bishop of Salisbury, overseer of the redecoration of St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 1790 and superintendent of the education of Princess Charlotte
Papers of John Fisher, successively Bishop of Exeter and Bishop of Salisbury, overseer of the redecoration of St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 1790 and superintendent of the education of Princess Charlotte, comprising:

(i) Six autograph letters signed by Fisher, to his fiancée Dorothea Scrivener of Exmouth ("...I was ready dressed in my Pontificalia to receive them. As soon as il Ré saw me, he said with a smile, I did not expect the pleasure of seeing you here, Exmouth is a great distance from hence.' – He then took me into his Library alone with him... ...I saw Miss Burney (Cecilia) who very handsomely congratulated me on an approaching event, & begged she might be ranked amongst the first of Mrs Fishers friends..."), Windsor and elsewhere, April to July [1787]

(ii) Warrant signed by George III (late scrawled signature at head), giving to John, Bishop of Salisbury, "the Collars, Great Georges, Little Georges and Garters of all and every Knight Companion" of the Order of the Garter that have reverted to the Crown after the death of their holders, the warrant addressed to and counter-signed by Isaac Heard, Garter, papered armorial seal, 1 July 1807

(iii) File of papers pertaining to the redecoration of St George's Chapel, Windsor, in 1789-90, kept by Fisher in his capacity as Canon and treasurer of the works, comprising: two autograph letters signed by the organ-builder Samuel Green ("Sam.l Green"), to Fisher, the first accepting the King's commission to build the new organ at St George's Chapel ("...I beg my humble duty to His Majesty & am willing to enter into a Bond of £200 to compleat the proposed Organ by the first of June 1789..."), the second enclosing his bill and analysing the merits and defects of the instrument ("...the Pipes Speak their notes separately, but when joined with others, they change their Tones & are out of Tune... The Organ now is compleat as any in the Kingdom, besides having a General Swell to the Great Organ..."), 3 October 1788 and 27 October 1791; autograph invoice by Green headed "Work done for His Majesty by Sam.l Green" in 1790 "To a New Organ of Large Demensions Put up in St George's Church Windsor" costing £1,000, with packaging at 10 guineas, and detailing payments received so far, embossed with 6d receipt duty stamp, 1790; two autograph letters signed by John Douglas, Bishop of Carlisle and Dean of Windsor ("...The screen you mention, will have a very happy Effect; & the removal of the Rood-Loft must add to the beauty of the Chapel... I am sure, we shall have none of Mr [Thomas] Sandby's misplaced ornaments. – I am very happy to hear that a contract has been entered into for paving St George's Chapel... ...His Majesty, on his return, will learn from you that Mr [sic] Coade is alone accountable for the slow Progress of the works in our Chapel; and, if another of his Kilns should burst, I shall begin to doubt, whether we shall be ready for an Installation before next Summer..."), 1788-89; autograph list of disbursements signed by Fisher, for expenditure of £1,300 cash received from the King, between 12 March 1789 and 15 February 1790, including several to "Mr Sealey for the Artificial Stone Work", and three to "Mr Eginton" ("for the Railing of the Communion Table", "for two Brackets to support the Communion Rails" and "for the Arms of the Knights of the Garter in stained Glass in two Windows"); autograph account signed by Fisher headed "The State of the King's account with Dr Fisher for the Works in St Georges Chapel", recording work on the organ (Green), communion rails (Eginton), stained glass (ditto), roof-painting (Mr Crook), banner (Mr Sarney), Furniture (Mr Hatch), the Coadstone screen ("...Mr Sealey for Mrs Coades Stone Screen to which his Majesty has graciously promised to add an hundred Guineas in compensation for Losses in the bursting of the Kilns..."), etc., 25 March 1791

(iv) Series of thirty autograph letters and declarations by Princess Charlotte of Wales, mostly signed "Charlotte" (some with initial), to her tutor and sub-preceptor the Rev Dr John Frederick Nott, commenting on her reading, including Elizabeth Carter's letters to Mrs Chapone ("...her works Dear Sir are like the orange-tree bearing flowers & fruit at the same time, & satisfying the understanding while it charms the imagination..."), Gray ("...As New Year's day was a Holiday the Bishop was so kind as to allow me to read Mr Grey's poems adorned by Mr Bentley's designs...") and the love story of the warriors Nisus and Euryalus from the Aeneid ("...I have begun a new exercise with the Bishop which is very entertaining. We also have read the beautiful History of Nisus & Euryolus in Latin & English. The oftener I read it the more beauties I find in it. The whole is charming but the simily between Euryolus & the poppy is one of the most beautiful things that can be..."); the Princess also has frequent cause to apologise for her behaviour ("...O My Dear Dear Mr Nott forgive I pray you me this time and never never shall you have a nother trouble with me as long as you are with me...") which she promises to emend ("...tho' I dislike Latine More than any thing in the World Yet you May depend upon my Learning it with as much good temper as possible & that Knowing You dislike to see what dislike I have, I shall endeavour to smother my own Dislike..."); other subjects touched upon included the Royal Family's visit to Worthing in 1807 ("...we where met by the Arundel Volunteer Cavalry who escorted us to our gate & there we were met by all the regiment of the foot; in the evening all the Town was eluminated which was a great mark of respect to the King & Papa..."), Christmas celebrations (" the morning we went to Prayers and the Bishop gave us a sermon. I then learnt by heart and in the afternoon the Miss Fishers came and we had various plays lastly Snap Dragon..."), holiday instruction ("...The Bishop of Exeter has requested Mr Bolton when Christmass Holidays come to bring some Chymical and optic things to show us..."), etc., over 80 pages, many with address leaves, small label-stains, 4to, 1805-1808

(v) Group of letters addressed to the prime minister, the Duke of Newcastle, during the last two years of his life, by the diplomat and secretary of state Lord Rochford, Admiral Sir Charles Saunders, his doctor Edward Warren ("...I think, it is rather too soon for yr Grace to begin the steel water... if your Grace takes a third of a pint for the first time, &, after airing for an hour, another third, that quantity will be sufficient..."), Dr John Chevallier (Master of St John's, Cambridge), the politician Frederick Montagu, Matthew Fetherstonhaugh of Uppark, and others, 1766-68


  • 'I DISLIKE LATINE MORE THAN ANY THING IN THE WORLD' - the education of Princess Charlotte and redecoration of St George's Chapel, Windsor, both under the supervision of Bishop Fisher. John Fisher was appointed a chaplain to George III in 1781, a canon of Windsor in 1786, Bishop of Exeter in 1803 and of Salisbury in 1807. As a canon of Windsor he acted as treasurer during the major redecoration of 1790, the major feature of which was the installation of the new organ by Henry Green, upon which much - some possibly new - information is provided by the present correspondence and receipts. This was also the occasion for the erection of a Coadstone organ screen and additional vaulting, overseen by Mrs Coade's cousin and future business partner John Sealy; the explosion of their kiln notwithstanding. Also installed were painted windows and decorative railings and the like by Matthew Boulton's former worker, Francis Eginton.

    During a temporary rapprochement with his son, under the terms of which the King took charge of the education of his granddaughter Charlotte, George III appointed Fisher as her Preceptor. Her Sub-Preceptor, and acting tutor - to whom our letters are addressed - was the Rev Dr George Frederick Knott, who is now best-known for his pioneering editions of Wyatt and Surrey (if not for a spat he had with Mary Shelley, her husband, and Lord Byron during their stay in Pisa).

Saleroom notices

  • Acquired by the present owner from a descendant of John Fisher.
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