Rundell & Bridge
Philip Rundell (Bath 1746 - 1827) & John Bridge (Piddletrenthide 1755 - 1834)
Philip Rundell began his career as an apprentice to William Rodgers, a jeweller in Bath. He moved to London in 1767 and found employment as a shop assistant for a goldsmith firm, Theed and Pickett. In 1785 he took over the business following the death of Theed’s daughter and became the sole owner of the company.
Soon after John Bridge joined Philip as a partner of Rundell & Bridge, one of the most celebrated English firms of jewellers and goldsmiths.
In 1797 they had been appointed Royal Goldsmiths and Jewellers, holding the title until 1843 and serving four monarchs, from George III to Queen Victoria.
Both Bridge and Rundell were undoubtedly master craftsmen, but also clever and successful businessmen: among their staff they employed some of the most eminent silversmiths of the time. In 1807 they convinced Paul Storr, the most celebrated English silversmith of all time, to join the company. He withdraw in 1819 and established his own workshop.
Among the most spectacular pieces created by the firm was the Diamond Diadem, worn by George IV in the procession to Westminster Abbey and the so called ‘Grand Service’, a magnificent silver gilt dining service of over 4000 pieces commissioned by George IV for Carlton House and still part of the Royal Collection Trust.
The company saw its peak during the first decade of the 19th Century, after England’s naval victories against Napoleon. By that time Rundell and Bridge had built a proper silver empire, trading in South America, India, Europe and Middle East.
When Rundell retired, in 1823, the finest hour of the company was already fading. He died soon after in 1827. John Bridge stayed in business until his death in 1834 and his nephew succeeded him until 1843, when the firm was dissolved.