Did a unicorn just gallop down Grays Inn Rd, or was it that rarest of sightings….. a NEW antique shop. Hilary Fisher, the elegant proprietress of Fisher London could certainly be mistaken for one. The flame coloured walls of her antiques shop cheerfully glow like a welcoming hearth. The specific colour being Dulux 'Jester' – a bold hue which works well with everything and one I should think everyone walking past 65 Grays Inn Rd admires, wishing they had the guts to paint their own home in. “Lots of people are afraid of not having taste, but if you buy things you love and mix them – they will always look great together,” she wisely explains.
Having only been open for 7 months after a successful pop up at Pentreath & Hall, it’s not the first location I’d think of for an antiques shop. But it makes perfect sense for Hilary, who lives round the corner and sells to local lawyers, barristers, journalists, architects and curators from the British museum. “Curators are my favourites, it’s lovely selling to them, they look at the most beautiful things all day and it’s a huge compliment when they buy from me.
Ever gracious, I think the customers are the ones spoilt by Hilary’s good eye for Georgian and Regency stock – her speciality. “Georgian,” I sigh. “That’s the one isn’t?” we smile at each knowingly. From buildings to furniture, fashions go in waves, but Georgian is always in demand, even dovetailing nicely with minimalism. Elegantly proportioned, so seemingly simple, but on closer inspection - artfully designed.
Affordability and good value are central to her mantra; that good things are there to be enjoyed, with most objects in her shop ranging from £10s to low hundreds. Original, Regency watercolours of mushrooms and butterflies line the walls in the kind of antique maple and rosewood frames you could scarcely source at the pictures framers. Shimmering decanters and delicate wine glasses - the kind I’d like my Christmas drinks poured from are also popular sellers. I would have rugby tackled the chap enquiring about the 1810 card table with anchor motif, but it seemed mildly inappropriate. I hope he enjoys it as much as I would. As Hilary says, “there will always be people who want good things.”
Having cut her teeth working for the dealer Brian Eldridge in Farringdon for twenty years before going solo, it strikes me that Hilary is one of those rare people who has found her true vocation in life. With a gift for handling customers; “you share their knowledge and learn from them,” a love of stories and the thrill of the chase - she was clearly born to be in the trade. A kinder or more accommodating dealer, I doubt you could meet, she offers customers a money back guarantee if a piece doesn’t work when they take it home. Even buying stock back sometimes one year later, or even five in the case of a 1680s mirror she once sold. Hilary Fisher is no Lovejoy. Being honest, accurate and genuine matters a lot to her and researching the history of a piece is a favourite aspect of the job. Though as she points out, nobody ever truly knows the provenance of any antique, as was the case with a talisman stuffed with a Lion’s furball she once sold; “it’s up to the customer to makeup their own minds if the story is true.”
If anyone wants to buy me a Christmas present, you have Hilary’s details……
Fisher London, 65 Grays Inn Rd, London, WC1X 8TL