Bespoke shotguns have been part of the wealthy British gentleman's essential sporting kit since the turn of the last century. They're as much a part of the English country house persona as tweeds, wellington boots and Range Rovers. Such guns are often passed down from father to son and are cared for like the precious objects they most certainly are. All these things they have long been, but up until now they have never been what one would call "affordable". Now William Evans (above), a top-drawer London gunmaker since 1883, is aiming to change all that with a new line of lower-priced bespoke shotguns that still deliver the quality one expects from a well-established London gunsmith.
William Evans first learnt his craft by working for famed gunsmiths James Purdey & Son and Holland & Holland. In 1883 he founded his own gunmaking business near Buckingham Palace and by 1888 his reputation had grown enough for him to move to more prestigious premises in Pall Mall, opposite St. James's Palace. By this time the core of William Evans' client list was firmly established, notably with military officers in the Guards Regiments who ordered sporting guns and rifles before being posted to various parts of the Empire. The move to St. James's, the heart of London's gentlemen's club district, further strengthened his client list and the company attracted the patronage of members of several prestigious clubs such as White's, Boodles and Brooks.
Gallery: William Evans Gunsmith