John Theophilus Lewis was an engraver, lithographer, mapmaker, land and timber surveyor, auctioneer and estate agent.

He was in business in Southampton between August 1840 and July 1844, with offices successively in Hampton Court Square (French Street) and at 19 High Street. In the 1841 census John, his wife Elizabeth and three children (Caroline, John and Agnes) were living at 14 Blechynden Terrace. He was for the first part of his stay in Southampton in partnership (as Lewis and Walker) with his late pupil, J T Walker, son of a Havant solicitor.

By March 1842 the firm had surveyed the town as high as the Military Asylum on the extremely large scale of one and a half chains to an inch. Subscribers could inspect the plan and, for a fee, obtain copies of any portion: thus, it was claimed, saving the expense of a private survey of any property within the area covered. This was supplemented by a Map of the town and county of the town of Southampton from actual survey made in the years 1842 & 1843, surveyed, lithographed, printed and published (on 1 September 1843) by J T Lewis ('I T Lewis' conventionally given on the map). The original prospectus for a map at a scale of 20 inches to a mile was issued by Lewis and Walker in March 1842, but sufficient subscribers could not then be found to warrant publication. It was said that 500 copies needed to be sold to pay the mere cost of labour. A second edition corrected to 1845 is in Hampshire Record Office (HRO 261M86/15). The map was used by the Pavement Commissioners and their successors the Improvement Commissioners until it was superseded by the 60-inch to a mile Ordnance Survey map of 1845/6.

John T Lewis (as 'I T Lewis') also published lithographs of Bugle Hall and Westwood House (east and south fronts), both based on drawings made by himself. A string of newspaper advertisements suggest a sizeable business as land agent and auctioneer, particularly acting as intermediary between those wanting to invest in land and those desperate to raise money on their property. In April 1843 he was appointed Southampton agent to the Farmers' and General Fire and Life Insurance Institution.

J T Lewis was born in Portsea, baptized in St Mary's Church on 16 September 1795. His parents - John Lewis, a 21-year old bachelor of Alverstoke, and Barthias Creswell, a 27-year old widow of Portsea - had been married on 27 June 1795 at Alverstoke church. John Theophilus entered business as a lithographer and surveyor about 1819. He was in Hyde Street, Winchester in the late 1820s and early/mid 1830s. An advertisement in the Hampshire Chronicle, 26 December 1825 introduced his new lithographic establishment in Winchester. He offered cheap reproductions of maps, charts, estate plans, architectural elevations and ground plans, drawings of machinery, music, bills of exchange, bills of lading, bill heads, circular letters and law forms. In addition he promoted the new technology of preparing drawings made on stone, "giving certainty to an hitherto very uncertain art". Instruction, gratis, was to be given to artists and amateurs in the method of drawing on stone.

Lewis was in Fareham by 1838, where a son, John Read Lewis, was born in February. At the end of his relatively short sojourn in Southampton, John Theophilus moved his offices to 30 Hanover Square, Portsea. He worked as surveyor, mapmaker and lithographer on a significant number of parish maps produced under the Tithe Commutation Acts. These included Alton (1829), Fareham (1832), North and South Hayling (1834), Goodworth Clatford (1838), Alverstoke (1840), Bishop's Waltham (1841), Upper Clatford (c.1841), Shanklin (1842) and, outside Hampshire, Selsey (1839). Some of the earlier work was in conjunction with a younger brother Charles Lewis, a surveyor, auctioneer and mapmaker in an extensive way of business in Havant. The latter tithe maps were in partnership with J T Walker.


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