Richard Thomson (1794-1865), antiquary and librarian, was born in Fenchurch Street, London. It is thought that he was educated privately; he never attended university. He developed an interest in exploring the antiquities of London, and published a number of valuable historical studies. Heraldry was one of his hobbies and he assisted enquirers in investigating their pedigrees.
In 1820 Thomson published his Account of processions and ceremonies observed in the coronation of the kings and queens of England, exemplified in that of George III and Queen Charlotte and also The book of life: a bibliographical melody, presented to the members of the Roxburghe Club. He also published an edition of Walton's Compleat angler (1823), Chronicles of London Bridge, by an Antiquary (1827; 2nd edition, 1839), Illustrations of the history of Great Britain (1828) in volumes 20 and 21 of Constable's miscellany and the anecdotal Tales of an antiquary (1828; 2nd edition, 1832), published anonymously in three volumes. His Historical essay on Magna Charta appeared in 1829.
Thomson was a frequenter of the London Institution in Finsbury Circus and was its honorary secretary from 1824 until 1869. On 14 August 1834 Thomson, along with Edward William Brayley, was elected joint librarian of the Institution. The catalogue of its library (then containing about 27,000 volumes), issued in four volumes between 1835 and 1852 and considered a model for its period, was largely compiled by Thomson, who published little else during these years. He published, anonymously, Historical notes for a bibliographical description of mediaeval illuminated manuscripts of hours, offices, &c. (1858), Lectures on illuminated manuscripts and the materials and practice of illuminators (1858), and An account of Cranmer's catechism. Thomson died at the London Institution on 2 January 1865, aged seventy and unmarried.
Source: K.A. Manley, 'Thomson, Richard (1794-1865)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press - http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/27321.