Paintings by Jonathan Fisher (AB 1795)

Orthographical Projection of Hollis Hall, by Jonathan Fisher, September 27, 1791. HUC 8782.514 (36)

Jonathan Fisher, painter, parson, polymath

When Dedham-born Jonathan Fisher graduated from Harvard College in 1795, his artistic skills were already in evidence. Although studio art was not part of the prescribed curriculum, there were opportunities for Fisher to showcase his talent, as evidenced in the mathematical thesis he painted in September 1794. This work, a class assignment meant to demonstrate the student’s mastery of mathematical concepts, includes a color vignette of Hollis Hall. Another Fisher watercolor from 1794 depicts Hollis, Harvard, and Massachusetts Halls. Both paintings are in the collections of the Harvard University Archives.

In 1796, Fisher moved to Blue Hill, Maine, where he served as Congregational minister until 1847, while pursuing artistic, mathematical, and scientific activities. In celebration of Fisher’s wide-ranging interests, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, has organized A Wondrous Journey— Jonathan Fisher and the Making of Scripture Animals, where his two watercolor views of Harvard are on display through January 5, 2014.


To learn more contact the Harvard University Archives at