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.
As loyal followers of the Explora blog you will have seen there is a diverse amount of hunting related items that surface from the most unlikely places. Knives are always a favourite of ours and generally the bigger the better. Take for example the two knives which a client of ours recently acquired from a house clearance in the north of England.
The first is one of the nicest hunting knives that we have seen in a long time, produced by a cutler named W.Thornhill & Co., Kensington, London. The company can be traced back to 1734 and had a very illustrious history particularly under the later leadership of Walther Thornhill whose company name is stamped upon the blade. During the golden age of empire under Queen Victoria the company offered silverware, writing boxes, dressing cases and other luxury goods, exhibiting at the Great Exhibition of 1851, Paris Exposition of 1855, International Exhibition of 1862 and Paris Exposition of 1878. In 1885 the company was awarded the Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria.
This particular drop point knife, the ‘Graham’ is still in fabulous condition with all the original accoutrements, including scissors, boot hook, corkscrew, scalpel, tweezers and pick. The quality of workmanship is really superb when you look at the detail on the spine of the blade which can almost be described as scallop back. The knife comes in a pigskin sheath with beautifully made silver fittings. Sadly the business of W.Thornhill & Co. ceased trading in 1912 which is a genuine shame considering the quality of the work.
Our second knife is a very large folder made by Holtzapffel & Co, of Haymarket, London. With its 6″ blade it very clearly was not intended as your casual pocket knife but certainly the knife of a serious hunter. The quality once again is superb and the address would date it at between 1907 – 1930. The nickel silver pivoting guard which is pinned through the rear of the blade is a really nice touch as are the ivory grips and carved bolsters.
Regrettably no history of the original owner could be found which is a real shame as we are sure there would be some great stories to tell!
The Princely rulers of India were noted for the opulence and extravagance with which they led their lives. The possession of beautiful objects made from the most precious of materials was a display of both wealth and power. Images abound of these rulers draped with the finest pearls, diamonds, emeralds and rubies assembled into some of the finest jewellery the world has ever seen.
Naturally this extravagance extended to the personal weapons carried by these individuals and here we have a selection of some of the finest Indian edged weapons that we have seen in a long time. Primarily jade handled, the curve bladed daggers or ‘Khanjar’ as they are known in India, are set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, the stones in fact set in place with fine gold. One dagger has very fine pearls set into the blade which is most unusual and each of the blades is decorated with fine gold damascene work.
One all steel dagger or ‘Kard’ is fully damascene embellished including the hilt which forms the shape of a bird with rubies for eyes. The quality of craftsmanship is superb as you would expect from the very finest workers of the day, engaged by the great families of India. You can now appreciate where some of the creative influence for the ‘India’ rifle came from and why we chose to inlay precious stones.
As you have seen with the various ‘gun junk’ I scatter around my photographs, I like picking up bits and pieces relating to our sport as I travel around, they all add to the collection of interesting, nicely made items, each with a story to tell, that I keep in my apartment here in England for use as photo ‘props’.
A few weeks ago I made a quick trip to Florida to meet contractors and shop-fitters for our new offices in Gulf Breeze. With the shop being next door to Gulf Breeze Firearms I spent quite some time in there. Duke McCaa has amassed over his years in the trade a treasure trove of little bits and pieces. ‘Cutlery’ is a large part of their business besides firearms and I have always enjoyed picking up simple and useful types of hunting knives and wing shooting knives so I thoroughly enjoyed picking through his collection and trying to pry the rarer pieces from his private showcase.
I had never seen or heard of these ‘Hobo Knives’ before and ended up getting the three here which I am very pleased with. I see them as a very useful ‘campaign’ type accessory, nice to have in your pocket when deep in the bush for a picnic.
This interesting article about the history of the Knives is for anybody else who has yet to discover the Hobo. Each page can be clicked on to enlarge and read.