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Fish, Peter (1744–d. 1788)

Fish, Peter

Hopton, Suffolk; cabinet maker (fl.1744–d. 1788)

Three known walnut bureaux bear an inscription by Peter Fish. The earliest bureau carries the pencilled inscription - ‘Mr Verlander. Peter Fish Maker Hopton April the 6th 1744’ and Fish’s initials are stamped on one of the lopers (illus. Regional Furniture (2010) pp.42 & 43). On the second is written in pencil underneath a drawer - ‘Maker Peter Fish for Mrs. Verlander, Hopton, Suffolk. Decbr. 15th 1744’. The strengthening blocks of the feet are also stamped ‘P.F.’ (illus. Regional Furniture (1993) p. 23). Simon Verlander was a master joiner of Colchester and then Hopton so it would appear that Fish was an independent sub-contractor for bureaux or a journeyman. The third bureau has written on one of the pull-out interior pilasters ‘Made by Peter Fish, Hopton, Suffolk, January 1749’. Hopton is a village approximately ten miles north-east of Bury St Edmunds and in the 1801 Census is listed with a population of 433. The parents of Peter Fish appear to have moved into the village after his birth as the first reference to the name Fish appears in the parish records in 1728. Peter Fish was married on 1 November 1748 and two sons are recorded as being baptised: Peter in 1750 and Samuel in 1754. No other details of the family have been found in Hopton, possibly because they moved into the adjoining parish of Garboldisham as that is the place of residence given in his will which was proven on 13 August 1788.

Sources: DEFM; Jones, ‘An Anthology of Regional Furniture with Maker’s Identification’, Regional Furniture (1993); Stabler, ‘New Light on Fish and Verlander’, Regional Furniture (2010)

The original entry from Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 can be found at British History Online.