Walter Thornhill was a cutler, jeweller and silversmith.
His company can be traced back to a cutler named Joseph Gibbs, based at 137 Bond Street in London. By 1772 the business was in the hands of his son, James Gibbs, and in 1800, was renamed as Gibbs & Lewis.
By 1805 the company was being run by John James Thornhill and John Morley, under the name of Morley & Thornhill. They moved to 144 New Bond Street in 1810. This partnership was dissolved in 1823 and the firm was renamed as John James Thornhill & Co., remaining at the same address. Thornhill acquired Royal Warrants of appointment to Queen Victoria, the Prince and Princess of Wales as well as other members of the Royal Family.
John James Thornhill died in 1848 and his son Walter took over the firm, to be known as Walter Thornhill, shortly after.
Walter broadened the company’s area of expertise as cutlers and silversmiths by moving into the manufacure of dressing cases, writing boxes, desks and other luxury pieces. Thornhill soon built up a great reputation for the quality of his work, attaining a prize medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851, the International Exhibition in Paris of 1855, the International Exhibition of 1862 and then multiple medals at the 1878 International Exposition in Paris.
By 1875 Walter’s son, Hubert Thornhill, had entered the business which became styled as Thornhill & Co. By 1895 the firm had become a limited liability company, opening new premises at 9 High Street, Kensington. The firm continued to trade until c.1914.