A chip off the old block…
Creating a business with exacting standards, a sharp eye for detail, an unwavering insistence on the very highest standards and building a reputation for excellent service doesn’t happen overnight. In the case of Richard Davonport, it is a lifetime’s work.
Richard’s passion for fashioning beautiful handmade furniture is not new; it is something that he learned from his father, Aubrey Davonport, at a very young age. The picture opposite shows Richard aged 4 with his father. Aubrey was an honorary member of the British Woodcarvers Association and taught his son how to carve using off-cuts of ‘green’ timber that Richard had collected from an after-school job he had cutting down trees in the woods close to his home.
Initially turning vases and bowls, Richard soon progressed to bigger pieces including making a carved four poster bed and an intricate credenza.
This support from his family continued to be a vital part of Richard’s early career path. His parents encouraged his progress from his job at a yacht builders to attend college to become a qualified furniture designer/cabinet maker. He qualified from college with distinction and promptly gained an apprenticeship with a prestigious local furniture maker. This culminated in Richard winning an award for cabinet making in 1992 and then winning another the following year after moving to a rival firm. It was during this time that Richard learned the intricate techniques of his craft and began to gain his reputation for attention to detail.
Soon after this Richard set up his first workshop, becoming his own boss and taking on his first employee. His success meant that in 1996 he moved his workshop to bigger premises and began designing and building bespoke kitchens. Working for himself gave Richard the freedom to work to his own standards. By using only the finest quality materials and combining traditional cabinet making skills with resourceful building techniques, Richard very quickly established high standards for his work, creating furniture designs without compromise.
The words of John Ruskin, a 19th century art critic, have always rung true for Richard Davonport:
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilful execution; it represents the wide choice of many alternatives”
By 2005, Richard Davonport had created a working relationship with over 20 different design studios across the UK. He then employed 17 like-minded people at his workshop in Colchester, on the Suffolk/Essex border, creating luxury bespoke kitchens and interiors. The Davonport brand and first retail studio were borne from this success. The business’ reputation for quality kitchen furniture, beautiful designs and great customer service soon spread thanks to praise for its designs and high standards in the interiors and kitchen press.
Continued growth and success meant that in 2013 Davonport moved to its new home; a 1.2 acre site in Colchester comprising of a 20,000sq ft workshop, a retail showroom and nearly 30 employees. Despite the success of the brand and size of the business, Richard Davonport’s ethos remains the same as it did when he opened his very first workshop; a strong focus on quality materials, traditional craft and furniture, without compromise. As he says, ‘It’s not just a job as the furniture we make carries my name.”