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A Brace Of Interesting Hunting Knives

As loyal followers of the Explora blog you will have seen there is a diverse amount of hunting related items that surface from the most unlikely places. Knives are always a favourite of ours and generally the bigger the better. Take for example the two knives which a client of ours recently acquired from a house clearance in the north of England.


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The first is one of the nicest hunting knives that we have seen in a long time, produced by a cutler named W.Thornhill & Co., Kensington, London. The company can be traced back to 1734 and had a very illustrious history particularly under the later leadership of Walther Thornhill whose company name is stamped upon the blade. During the golden age of empire under Queen Victoria the company offered silverware, writing boxes, dressing cases and other luxury goods, exhibiting at the Great Exhibition of 1851, Paris Exposition of 1855, International Exhibition of 1862 and Paris Exposition of 1878.  In 1885 the company was awarded the Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria.

This particular drop point knife, the 'Graham' is still in fabulous condition with all the original accoutrements, including scissors, boot hook, corkscrew, scalpel, tweezers and pick. The quality of workmanship is really superb when you look at the detail on the spine of the blade which can almost be described as scallop back. The knife comes in a pigskin sheath with beautifully made silver fittings. Sadly the business of W.Thornhill & Co. ceased trading in 1912 which is a genuine shame considering the quality of the work.

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Our second knife is a very large folder made by Holtzapffel & Co, of Haymarket, London.  With its 6" blade it very clearly was not intended as your casual pocket knife but certainly the knife of a serious hunter. The quality once again is superb and the address would date it at between 1907 - 1930. The nickel silver pivoting guard which is pinned through the rear of the blade is a really nice touch as are the ivory grips and carved bolsters.

Regrettably no history of the original owner could be found which is a real shame as we are sure there would be some great stories to tell!

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  • Keith on March 15, 2017 at 10:38 am


    Diversity of subjects on the blogs are what makes the Explora so enjoyable. Keep up the great work.


    • Andy on March 15, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Here here Keith. Great to see some cutlery back on the explora.

  • Neill on March 15, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    The Thornhill knife is very nice indeed. Thanks to WR and your client for letting us see them.

  • Peter Buckley. on March 16, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Dear Trigger

    What a difference this post makes to the blog, this type of item should stimulate lots of interest, I do like a surprise!
    Great post, even though I don't have the greatest interest in knives I can't deny the first class craftsmanship that went into both these hunting knives and needless to say if someone offered them to me I wouldn't turn them down.

    You have obviously researched them, as I did on seeing them, that's what "The Explora" blog generates 'interest'!
    The Thornhill & Co 'Graham knife' is in glorious condition, if I am correct they also made another almost the same called the 'Wingfield'.
    I think my preference would be the Holtzapffel folding knife, understated yet so fit for purpose as you say superb!

    Thanks go to you and your client, it would be great to have more hunting related items in the future.

    Kind Regards. Peter.

  • Carol T Jenkins on December 18, 2022 at 11:46 am

    very attractive knife. thanks for sharing.

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