Makers & Retailers - William Comyns

William Comyns

William Comyns established his company after finishing his apprenticeship with George J. Richards at the end of 1858. He bought the premises of Robert Tagg (founded in 1730) on 2 Carlisle Street, Soho, London, where he entered his first mark (W.C into a four tipped oval) in 1859. Comyns rapidly built up a sustainable and high quality business expanding to premises Beak Street, off Regent Street. In 1885 Williams two sons Charles and Richard joined the business and they formed a partnership named William Comyns & Sons. The sons had a large influence on the business and around the late 1880’s the firm was retailing highly decorative silverware in businesses such as The Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Company, Henry Lewis and Howell & James in London as well as Tiffany & Co.

Although William Comyns were primarily a silversmiths they became extremely well known for their silver and tortoiseshell work which was often inlaid and contained silver pique work. Refined jewellery boxes, vanity sets and clocks created in Victorian and Art Nouveau styles gained a special reputation for their intricate designs, complex techniques and high quality. After the death of William Comyns in 1916, his two sons faced an extremely difficult time amongst other businesses during World War I. In 1925 Charles died whilst at a sale in Christies and the firm became the limited liability company led by Richard Comyns in 1930 under the business name William Comyns & Sons Ltd. In 1953 the firm was bought by Bernard Copping, but later it changed owners several times until the total liquidation in 1987. The Comyns name carried forward and they are now one of the few remaining manufacturing silversmiths in London with premises in London WC2.