The Asprey company was originally founded as a silk printing business by William Asprey in 1781. Based from a shop in Mitcham, Surrey, William and his son Charles (I) soon started to retail luxury goods.
In 1841, Charles (I) formed a business partnership with his son-in-law, Francis Kennedy, a stationer based at 49 Bond Street, London. This partnership was to last until 1846, with Francis continuing on the business himself. By the end of 1847, Charles Asprey (I) and his son Charles (II) moved their business to 166 Bond Street, London.
Asprey entered one of their dressing cases into the Great Exhibition of 1851, receiving an ‘Honourable Mention’ for their quality of workmanship (See our page on Asprey’s ‘Great Exhibition’ Dressing Case). This prestigious event earned Asprey great admiration and recognition, concreting the Asprey name to be synonymous with the utmost luxury and exclusivity.
In 1858, Asprey absorbed the highly respected firm of Edwards into their business.
Purchasing the Alfred Club at 22 Albermarle Street in 1861, Asprey expanded their premises and now had entrances to their shop on two of the most exclusive streets in London.
Asprey were awarded the gold medal for expertise for their collection of dressing cases presented at the International Exhibition of 1862. Queen Victoria was so impressed by the work of Asprey, that in the same year she awarded them with the Royal Warrant for their dressing cases, travelling bags and writing cases.
In 1872, the business name officially changed to Charles Asprey & Son, and later in 1879, to Charles Asprey & Sons, with the inclusion of Charles (II)’s sons, Charles (III) and George Edward Asprey. (See note below)
Asprey acquired the firm of Leuchars & Son in 1888, and started to share their manufactory at 8 Sherwood Street, Golden Square, London. However the actual business of Leuchars & Son remained trading from their 38 & 39 Piccadilly, London address until 1902.
In 1889, the business was renamed C & G.E Asprey, despite Charles (II) not retiring until 1891. The last name change of the nineteenth century was in 1900, where the business became known as Asprey & Co. In 1906, Asprey bought out their business competitors, and neighbours, Houghton & Gunn.
Despite these official years of name change, pieces signed ‘Asprey & Son’ or ‘Asprey & Sons’ have appeared far earlier than these dates would suggest.
- Asprey’s ‘Great Exhibition of 1851’ Dressing Case
- Asprey Patent Bramah Lock
- Dressing Case Bottles and Jars
- Dressing Case Tools and Accessories
- Houghton & Gunn
- Betjemann Patent Mechanisms
- George Betjemann & Sons
- Index of British Makers and Retailers
- Index of Silversmiths
- Index of Locksmiths