You may have found us a bit quieter than usual of late. Well, that is because we have been hard at work on an exciting new project. After considerable time and effort, we at Westley Richards are proud to announce the launch of our brand new website.
Featuring the finest imagery and design, and industry-leading technology, it showcases the world of Westley Richards like never before. Designed and developed especially for those with a passion for fine guns, hunting, bespoke leather goods and the very best shooting clothing and products, the new site is a reflection of what we do here at Westley Richards in our relentless pursuit of perfection. We hope you enjoy it and we look forward to welcoming you all into our world.
One of the photo projects I discussed with Brett, many months ago now, when he was teaching me to use the Leica M system and had asked me to suggest locations I would enjoy photographing, was a visit to this workshop owned by Haydn Hill in Birmingham. It was a project we never managed to fulfil together. This is a workshop that is ‘totally normal’ to Haydn himself and totally historic to all of us involved in gunmaking, it is a museum.
So it was actually with great reluctance that I commissioned Brett last week to go and do the job for me, an excellent decision I feel as the resulting images are worthy of the location rather than it having been a students playground.
To add the story to these images I am sincerely grateful to both Vic Venters and Ralph Stuart of Shooting Sportsman Magazinefor allowing me to publish Vic’s article which appeared in the magazine which you will find in the preceding post.
About Brett, the photographer.
At the tender age of six, a plastic camera and darkroom kit started Brett’s lifelong passion for photography. After leaving school he got the break that put him on the path to a fulfilling career as a photographer, when he was offered an apprenticeship at the Birmingham Post, England. Brett graduated to open his own portrait studio and was awarded Kodak Photographer of the Year at the age of 25.
His love of art and architecture led him to further hone his craft in the field of commercial & industrial photography using large format cameras. His motivation to capture everyday scenes within a special day and to find the extra in the ordinary led him to tell the story of weddings with his camera of choice, the Leica M.
Brett went on to consult for Leica Camera coaching enthusiast and professional photographers at Leica Akademie, Mayfair and in workshops worldwide.
He also undertakes bespoke commissions and personal projects. His signature look is the synergy between street photography, documentary and lifestyle imagery.
I am sure that less than 10% of our readers will ever have the opportunity to actually visit our factory in Birmingham. Everyone has the opportunity but the distances, oceans and time factors make trips like this difficult.
Recently I was fortunate enough to have the factory photographed by one of the worlds leading interior photographers, Simon Upton a keen sportsman himself. Simon travels the world extensively shooting magnificent interiors for magazines. His client list is a who’s who of interior and decoration magazines amongst which are The World of Interiors, Vogue, House and Garden, Elle Decor, Harpers Bazaar, Architectural Digest and Vanity Fair.
We were joined for the shoot days by the man who is largely responsible for the overall look of the factory,Hubert Zandburg. I first met Hubert, a young South African interior designer in 2005, just prior to my embarking on the new factory project. Hubert like myself is a compulsive ‘collector hunter gatherer’, we cannot resist buying items of interest and allow them to take over our lives and he has a remarkable ability of displaying the collected items to be shown at their very best. Literally give him a pile of objects large and small and short hours later they will be displayed in a manner you would never have expected and to great effect.
My decision to work with Hubert on the factory came from an initial sketch he did for the lobby to display my Elephant head. He placed this on a black steel riveted stand and left it in isolation in the hallway, it excited me very much. It was a clean modern look and one I felt totally appropriate for the factory, from this clean space lobby you would enter a world of objects, colour and interest. What Hubert has created for Westley Richards is very special indeed and I remain totally indebted for his work, advise and the friendship that has resulted from our meeting all those years ago.
The result of this collaboration has received a huge amount praise, the ambiance and interest that the factory generates has been fantastic and I hope that as many of you as possible will be able, at one point in your travels, be able to visit in person. We look forward to welcoming you.
This series of photographs covers the entrance lobby, showroom and after the image of antlers on the back staircase ‘my space’ at the top of the building where I now have my office and photo studio. We did not shoot in the gun making area, another set of photographs I commissioned and taken by Brett covers this and I will be posting a selection from that shoot later on this month.
We have available for collection or delivery from our Bozeman shop, 4 used Fort Knox safes which we no longer require. The safes are as illustrated above, they are clean and in general ‘very good condition’ but with some outside wear to the transfer decal decoration and leading edges of the door.
Fort Knox Titan Model 7241with interior lighting. Externally, the safe measures 72.5″ H x 40.5″ W x 29.5″ D. We have Two left hand opening and Two right hand opening available. 40 Gun capacity each. (4 rows x 10 gun) Electric lighting and digital lock. The normal new cost of these safes is $6000 each, we are asking $2000 each ex Bozeman.
Pleaseemail me or call Kevin Kilday on +1 406 586 1946 if these are of interest.
Update. All these are now all sold, thank you all very much!
I asked Emma to shoot photographs today of what you could expect to see if you visit the factory, a virtual tour by camera. I hope that those of you who are unable to visit the factory enjoy these and I hope that any of you considering coming to visit will be encouraged to do so by what you see here.
You can see from these photographs that each gunmaker creates his own space here at the factory. Come 5 o’clock, the gun parts are put in the vault and the bench left to pick up the work the next day..
Last week, as the sun was going down, a visitor to the factory quietly launched his drone and took some video of the factory. From his footage, he has kindly grabbed a few stills for me. For those who have never visited these give a nice perspective of the factory and its location in the city.
Inside the building you will discover vaults full of guns to interest you.
My sincere thanks to Ryan Belanger for use of his shots.
It has taken a few years, convincing my Father to sell, getting them framed and then up on the wall, but finally I have hung a grid of the Princes of India on the wall here at the factory. I have always thought these portraits very appropriate for a gunmakers like ourselves, the Princes were after all the lifeblood of the English gun trade for many years, driving innovation due to their hunger for new calibre’s and types of rifles and guns.
I think many people who own a Princely rifle will gain pleasure from seeing what the original owner actually looked like and here, on the wall, they are shown in all their splendour, photographed at the time of the 1911 Durbar.
This wall was the very last empty wall space in the factory, every wall is now covered and my framing bills have finally come to an end!
What do you get the man who has everything? The bases of these side table lights are the remains of the steel billet from which we take the action machining for our guns and rifles. Each lamp is different and may be a small one for a .410 gun or a large one for a .577 rifle. It seemed a shame to just throw these away and they make a interesting talking point as you sit and sip your scotch. If they admire the lamp perhaps you can show them what you had made with the middle part?!
These Unique lamps are hand made to order from £500.00 each.
2 cabinets with 12 of our most elaborate guns to date, including the Boutet Gun and The India Rifle welcomed local guests to our showroom for their first time at the premises to see the latest collections of clothing on display in the shop. It was also an opportunity to see our craft in action with tours around the gun workshops and leather shop where the opportunity to discuss the ‘ideal leather bag’ with the maker added a nice touch.
My thanks to all the Ladies who made this event such a success.