Archive for the ‘Catalogue’ Category

Susie Lau: Delving into Smythson’s Archives

April 2, 2012

As our heritage timeline launches on Facebook, we open up the Smythson archives to guest blogger Susie Lau of Style Bubble

Delving into Smythson’s archive material is a potent reminder of gentler times, when a Christmas card would contain messages such as “May Christmas bring you many a kiss and never a tear or a sigh”.  I’m not personally one to go riding waves of nostalgia, but it is lovely to know that such a time existed when you’d wish for someone that they never experience tears or sighing without a shade of irony.

I also love a time when invitations to a dinner party or a wedding were incredibly small, with this specimen here on the left measuring about 7cm x 5cm.

The Smythson story is a simple one that started in 1887 when Frank Smythson opened his first shop at 133 New Bond Street.  Initially, Smythson worked in the silversmith trade but turned his hand to luxury stationery for the well-to-do.   The well-kept scrap books reveal a fastidious character, with every Smythson bit of memorabilia preserved and neatly organised.

The more interesting thing about Smythson was that whilst they primarily made stationery, they also offered other little trinkets that ranged from the conventional to the very quirky indeed.

Jewellery seems like a natural link to Frank Smythson’s silversmith beginnings.

A combined bag, hand muff and cushion looks like a product worth reviving today.

A “Victoria” housewife’s kit is nothing out of the norm of the early 20th century.

However a sardine/sandwich server and a suffragette-themed novelty pepper dispenser are the slightly odder offerings from this book of presents.

Smythson’s handiwork can really be seen in the stationery that was created for the Indian Maharajas during the early 20th century.  I especially love the mother of pearl surfaces that can be seen in the embossed emblems.

I had to chuckle at the sheer frivolity of this card which invited people to fly to the Prince of Jodhpur’s sherry and cocktails ‘do.

I copped a feel of the first ever Smythson ‘Panama’ diary, created in 1908 which was a real innovation of Frank Smythson because of the super thin paper used as well as the flexible lambskin used for the cover.

These bijoux sized notepads continued on into the 1920s and spawned some really fascinating gender-aimed notebooks.  There’s some vaguely sound advice in both books.  For instance, a man is told to “Choose a woman with your ears not your eyes” and women are reassured that “He is a fool who thinks by force or skill, To turn the current of a woman’s will.”  It’s difficult not to be charmed by the quaint aspect of these notebooks.


Hot off the press…

February 4, 2011

Our lovely, bright & cheerful spring 2011 catalogue has just arrived fresh from the printers – can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of it!

At our autumn/winter 10/11 catalogue shoot…

July 29, 2010

Our Head of Communications, Emma Woolley, blogged from our autumn/winter ’10 catalogue photo shoot in East London last week:

“Last week we were on location for our exciting new look catalogue for autumn/winter. This is the first time we’ll be stepping outside the studio and bringing Smythson products to life in a real setting, incorporating models into some shots –  so a new experience for all involved!

It definitely wasn’t all glamour and there were boxes, lots of boxes, lots of product – we had never realised how physically demanding photo shoots were until now – which was the perfect excuse to indulge in all the tasty treats on offer!

We were in safe hands with a fantastic team. Each shot was agonized over and when the winning frame was captured, it was accompanied by a relieved round of applause!


Tilly, our photographer’s dog was a constant source of comfort as she remained calm and collected whilst we ran around slightly crazed with arms full of product!

When the shoot came to an end, there was a great sense of achievement, everyone had worked so hard and bonded over lengthy discussions over ‘where that pencil should sit’ or ‘which cufflinks to use..?’

The two Js, Jack Featherby and Jonny Vantastic deserve a special mention for helping a group of girls (two pregnant) move a house full of furniture – they were our knights in shining armour!

The next part is the agonizing wait until we see the results at the end of September…we’re counting down the days!”

The First Day of Autumn…

September 22, 2009

Autumn officially begins today – the perfect time to release our latest, new-look Autumn/Winter Catalogue, featuring a host of both classic and new leather accessories from our core and fashion collections, as well as our range of new 2010 diaries and watermarked stationery. 

 Browse online, download a PDF or request a copy to be delivered to your door

For A Corporate Gift with a Difference…

July 2, 2009

Our 2009 Corporate Gifts Catalogue has just arrived, filled with a range of unique and enduring corporate gift ideas, from our famed Featherweight Panama Notebook Collection to beautifully crafted leather business and travel accessories.  All gifts can be personalized with a name, initials, corporate logo or a  message and bespoke insert pages for our books and diaries, creating a truly individual touch that will set your gift apart from the rest.

To request the 2009 Smythson Corporate Gifts Catalogue, please email or call our Corporate Team on +44 (0) 20 7318 1501.  Alternatively, view the brochure online here.

Summer Has Arrived at Smythson…

May 12, 2009

… In the form of our latest catalogue, where you will find everything from must-have travel accessories for sun-drenched getaways  (our top tip is the multipurpose Travel Clutch which doubles up as a clutch bag for evenings out) to boxes of exquisite watermarked Correspondence Cards featuring a hand-painted border or die-stamped motif (both of which feature in Vogue June’s ‘Great Summer Style’ Supplement). 

Why not make a fresh start with a Mid-Year Diary, or brighten up your everyday office writing accessories with a classic Manuscript Book or  Lippiatt Writing Folder?

Browse the Summer Catalogue now or request your own copy here.

‘A Stitch in Time Saves Nine’ – The Smythson Peppermint Sewing Box

April 1, 2009

Make do and mend with this sturdy, durable and beautifully-crafted compact Sewing Box, lined in soft nubuck and covered in the powder-fresh ostrich print leather of the vintage-inspired Peppermint Collection.

The new Smythson Sewing Box draws on our rich and established heritage in luxury boxwork design, which dates back to 1887 – illustrated by the ‘Dorothy’ Work Box shown below in one of our earliest catalogues:  Frank Smythson’s Little Book of Presents, 1909.  Each box was thoughtfully engraved with the saying ‘A Stitch in Time Saves Nine’…

Spring Has Sprung at Smythson…

March 5, 2009

Our Spring Catalogue has just arrived, hot off the press, giving a preview of what to look forward to as the milder months approach.  Think vibrant Coral leather accessories with cool white enamel clasps, the Enid Clutch in Pebble or Chalk and our in-demand Giles Deacon designer stationery (the gift of choice to all front-row fashionistas at Giles’ latest show); not forgetting a selection of ever-popular pieces from our timeless Black & Brown Mara Collections

Click here to request or download your copy of the Smythson Spring 2009 Catalogue.

Update your accessories with the Smythson Autumn Winter Catalogue

October 3, 2008

This week’s distinct drop in temperature has turned our minds to that new winter wardrobe and the must-have accessories that will see us through the chilly months. So, there’s no better time to curl up with the brand new Smythson Autumn Winter 2008 Catalogue, where you’ll find a host of luxurious goodies and great gift ideas.

Take your pick from iconic handbags, classic diaries, stationery and Christmas cards, as well as and a host of travel, business, beauty and jewellery accessories. What are you waiting for? Click here to request a copy or or view the catalogue online.