Georgian Jeweler to the “Ton”

This state portrait of Queen Victoria by George Hayter (detail), shows her wearing the new Imperial State Crown "expressly made for the solemnity of the Coronation" by Rundell, Bridge & Co., with 3,093 gems. George Hayter - http://www.gac. culture.gov.uk/ search/Object.asp?object_key=29134 - Public Domain

This state portrait of Queen Victoria by George Hayter (detail), shows her wearing the new Imperial State Crown “expressly made for the
solemnity of the Coronation” by Rundell, Bridge & Co., with 3,093 gems.
George Hayter – http://www.gac.
culture.gov.uk/
search/Object.asp?object_key=29134 – Public Domain

In Elizabeth Bennet Excellent Adventure, I had the need to discover something of the jewelry trade during the Regency Era. Rundle & Bridge were considered jewelers for the ton after 1805. Remember that if one had money, the Regency was an era of custom-made jewelry. So while some might browse a few pieces made up, it’s more likely that person would view some drawings and the stones and have something made to order. Even heirloom sets were often reworked and remade to suit fashion. 

Hoopman Rare Art tells up something of Philip Rundell: “Son of Thomas Rundell doctor of Widcombe Bath, born 1743. Apprenticed to William Rodgers jeweller of Bath on payment of £20. Arrived in London, 1767 or 1769, as a shopman to Theed and Pickett, Ludgate Hill, at a salary of £20 p.a.. Made partner with Picket in 1772 and acquired sole ownership of the business in 1785-6. Took John Bridge into partnership in 1788 and his nephew Edmund Walter Rundell by 1803, the firm being styled Rundell Bridge and Rundell from 1805. Appointed Goldsmith and Jeweller to the King in 1797, due it is said, to George III’s acquaintanceship with John Bridge’s relative, a farmer near Weymouth. He took Paul Storr into working partnership in 1807, an arrangement that lasted until 1819, when the latter gained independence. Only then was Rundell’s mark entered as plateworker, 4th March, 1819. Address: 76 Dean Street, Soho, (the workshop). In 1823 John Bridge enters his first mark and it seems probable therefore that it was about this time that Rundell retired. He did not die however until 1827, leaving his fortune of 1.25 million to his nephew Joseph Neeld.” 

Philip Rundell headed up a silver manufacturing company. Jewelry of every type (watches, rings, necklaces, custom-made items) filled his shop at number 32 on Ludgate Hill. Rundell was an apprentice to a jeweler in Bath before arriving in London in the mid 1700s. He worked for many years at Theed and Pickett, Jewelers and Goldsmiths. Eventually, he made partner with the group and later (1785) purchased the shop, which was to bear his name. 

John Bridge became Rundell’s partner soon afterwards. Through a connection of a cousin, Bridge soon earned the notice of King George III. Soon, Rundell and Bridge were known as “Jewelers and Goldsmiths to the King.” The business received royal warrants from George IV and Frederick, Duke of York. 

To learn more of the other partners and designers associated with Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell, please see this post on the Georgian Index. It contains fabulous images of some of the most important pieces created by the firm, including “The Shield of Achilles,” designed for George IV’s coronation. 

An excellent list of merchants (including jewelers) for the Georgian era can be found here – http://www.georgianindex.net/London/l_merchants.html

You might also find this source of interest if you are doing research on the time or on commerce. 

Rundell, Bridge and Rundell – An Early Company History
Robert W. Lovett
Bulletin of the Business Historical Society
Vol. 23, No. 3 (Sep., 1949), pp. 152-162
Published by: The President and Fellows of Harvard College
DOI: 10.2307/3111183
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3111183
Page Count: 11

This description comes from JStor. 

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About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
This entry was posted in British history, business, company, Great Britain, Living in the Regency, Regency era, Victorian era and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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