Purdey is a byword for the most famous producer of hunting weapons in England and probably the world.
Founded in 1814 by James Purdey, the youthful apprentice to the greatest gunsmith of the age, Joseph Manton, he quickly became famous not only for the quality of construction of his guns but also for the speed with which they could be loaded. And at a time when the success of a gentleman could also be ascertained by the number of birds in his game bag, Purdey succeeded in reducing reloading times to a second each time.
Initial acknowledgements came when Queen Victoria became his client and conferred the first Royal Warrant on him. Bit by bit, all of the monarchs and aristocracy followed suit. And so it remained for the next 200 years. From 1946 onwards, Purdey passed from one owner to another until, in 1994, it became part of Richemont, the famous Swiss group which specialises in luxury goods and still owns it today. Richard Purdey, a sixth generation descendant, is president of the company.
The company’s guns are real works of art of efficiency and craftsmanship, and are entirely hand-made by some of the best gunsmiths in the world. In addition, they display beautiful decoration which is meticulously produced by able engravers. Therefore, the waiting time for a bespoke gun manufactured at Hammersmith can be up to two years.
For this reason Purdey guns are usually passed down from father to son, not only on account of their great intrinsic value but also – and above all – because they reflect the affection between the generations which such an action represents. Purdey has been based on tradition since far-off 1814, and that is the way its clients like it.
London, November 2016