Insight | Mappin & Webb Silversmiths

Insight | Mappin & Webb Silversmiths

March 31st 2023

As we progress with our online blogs, we have received great feedback from our Insight series that initially was about English furniture makers. We have decided to expand the Insight series and run it with a mixture of subjects with the first being Mappin & Webb the Silversmith company. Below we dive into all things silver and give you an in-depth view of the companies founder and history. Grab yourself a cuppa and enjoy the read!

Mappin & Webb silversmiths began in 1775 with Jonathan Mappin who opened a silver workshop in Sheffield over the years the business became a powerhouse in the silver trade and eventually became known as Mappin Brothers.

An architectural view of the Mappin & Webb works Sheffield.

Mappin & Webb Sheffield

John Mappin, one of Jonathan Mappin’s great-grandsons started his own business in London called Mappin & Company in 1860. Mappin & Company later became Mappin, Webb & Co. After George Webb Mappin’s brother-in-law joined the company in 1862. The first Mappin & Webb store opened in 1860 at 77–78 Oxford Street, London. The company initially produced fine silverware, vanity products and candelabras which gained a nationwide audience due to their high quality and the company soon progressed to producing jewellery.

Mappin, Webb & Co. acquired Mappin Brothers in 1903 and three years later the premises on Oxford Street were rebuilt to designs by Belcher & Joass English and Scottish architects respectively. The pair were known for the Royal Insurance at St. James’s Street & Piccadilly, the Royal Zoological Society at Regent’s Park, and many more prominent buildings in London and outside of London. Joass also rebuilt the Regent Street store in 1914 and by the 1950s it was proving more successful than the former, and in 1956 the company moved its headquarters from Oxford Street to Regent Street.

Mappin & Webb Oxford Street London

Mappin & Webb expanded internationally beginning in the 1890s. Its first overseas store was established in Johannesburg and reached Buenos Aires, Biarritz, Hong Kong, Mumbai (formally Bombay) and multiple other locations. However, in the 1950’s the family lost control of the business and was the subject of a hostile takeover through the acquisition of privately owned shares. Thereafter, all international stores closed in the second half of the 20th century.

Mappin & Webb Novelty Inkwell Available at Jacksons Antique click here

Over the years Mappin & Webb has had the honour of creating jewellery for royalty and high society both in the United Kingdom and internationally. Patrons have included Queen of France Marie-Antoinette, the Empress of Russia, and Princess Grace of Monaco. The company held Royal Warrants to the Russian Empire, the Japanese Royal Household, the British Monarchy with Queen Victoria being the first British monarch to commission Mappin & Webb. Mappin & Webb also held warrants to the late Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales. Mappin & Webb’s master craftsman Martin Swift was appointed the position of Crown Jeweller in 2012. The custodian of the British Crown Jewels who is responsible for preparing them for the State Opening of Parliament and other state occasions. Mark Appleby who is also of Mappin & Webb took over as crown jeweller in 2017 from Swift.