From the Archive: Personalised Stationery – The Smythson Touch

Our company archivist, Vicky Britton, explores our heritage in personalised stationery…

From the understated simplicity of the traditional, to the showmanship of the latest style, Smythson have been offering the discerning customer the best in luxury bespoke stationery design for over 100 years.

Colourful Bespoke Die-stamped Christmas Card, 1900

Blind Embossed Bespoke Christmas Card, 1903

Having produced an array of beautiful bespoke greetings cards from the turn of the 20th century, Smythson was soon established as the foremost British stationers, supplying town and country houses across Britain.

Personalised “Bon Voyage” Greeting Card, 1911

During WWI, Smythson’s Marston Mill paper (85gsm/21lbs) was suggested as an ‘ideal weight for letters to the front’ and colourful, hand-crafted greeting cards were produced wishing the recipients positive thoughts for the coming year, despite the prolonged hardships faced by many.

Examples of WWI Bespoke Greeting Cards

During the days of the Empire, Smythson also produced stationery for the Imperial Families of Japan, the Prince of Abyssinia and the Governors of Bengal, Bombay and Madras.

By far the most elaborate stationery was produced during the 1920s and 1930s for the Maharaja of India; hand-bordered paper decorated with personal monograms engraved in gold, silver and rich colours with delicate mother-of-pearl inlay.

Example of personalised stationery made using rich, die-stamped colours and mother-of-pearl inlay, 1920s-1930s

One of the most cherished pieces in our archive is a bespoke cocktail invitation produced for the Maharaja of Jodhpur in 1932, featuring the Maharaja’s ornate crest, hand-engraved with an early aeroplane.

Gold-stamped cocktail invitation produced for the Maharaja of Jodhpur, 1932

This elaborate stationery has continued to impress and inspire, with many notable VIPs taking inspiration from the quality and design of these old pieces when designing their own bespoke stationery.

Find out more about ordering your own personalised stationery here.

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One Response to “From the Archive: Personalised Stationery – The Smythson Touch”

  1. The Folder Man Says:

    I do love the idea of personalised stationery. Your post just goes to show that it’s certainly not a new idea but one that helps you stand out from the crowd.

    Thanks for sharing a great collection!

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