After a lengthy, courageous and very valiant battle against cancer, William Yeoward passed away on Tuesday 18th June 2019. We, at William Yeoward, have lost an inspiring and creative genius, and the world has lost a very special human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with William have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. The team at William Yeoward have been entrusted with his legacy and we will honour his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.
William Yeoward was branded one of London’s leading creative forces, he built a reputation as a style maker, retailer and designer of beautiful products for the home. He was known for his sophisticated, elegant and highly individual style. A man who cared very much and strove tirelessly to perfect his trade and approached his business activities with passion and humour.
After school William embarked almost immediately on a career in interior design and retailing, opening his first store on the King’s Road, Chelsea in 1985.
“I realised very early on in my creative life that if I could not find what I wanted the best thing to do was to find someone to make it.” He certainly fulfilled this philosophy in many areas of product he created for the home. “It’s very important to work out what you are about and how you want to live before one even contemplates a house or the things that one needs to live in it comfortably ….comfort is the key to contentment and therefore good design must be practical, elegant and above all comfortable.”
At first his store on the King's Road 'Yeoward' showcased mainly antiques, objet and pieces that he had designed and commissioned for his numerous design projects. William’s store flourished while he added designs of bespoke and upholstered furniture, lighting, dinner services and crystal. “Crystal has always made me very excited and of all the things that I adore I think that crystal is the product that gives me most joy. I loved it and was determined that one day it would be recreated in the style of my favourite 18th and 19th century pieces. How this was to happen I simply did not know.”
William Yeoward met third generation crystal designer and maker Timothy Jenkins who immediately realised that they shared the same passions and aspirations and William Yeoward Crystal was born. The crystal was shown first in 1996 in London and was awarded ‘Best New Product’ by British, House & Garden Magazine. At the same time American Elle Décor magazine proudly announced that the collection epitomised the “zenith in crystal making.” William Yeoward Crystal has a showroom on Madison Avenue, New York, and was granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment as Supplier of Crystal Glass to HRH The Prince of Wales in January 2008.
William Yeoward fabric and wallpapers were added to the collection in 1998. These collections are distributed globally by Designers Guild. June 2003 saw a new showroom on the King's Road Chelsea, a few hundred yards from his original store. When working on this project it became obvious to William that he needed to make this 3000 square feet a home for the whole Yeoward brand. It is said that William had a true talent in knowing what people wanted. “It’s simple,” Yeoward said, “I just design what I would like to have in my home and fortunately there are other people who seem to like it too! Buying my work should bring long term pleasure not instant gratification and then years of disappointment!” William possessed a rare combination of a prolific creative talent coupled with a natural commercial flair and an enviable rapport with the press and design conscious clients alike.
William added rugs and cushions to his distribution line for the first time in 2012, and in 2014 '….collected Furniture’, an exceptional and expansive range of handmade furniture was brought to the market. William published his first book 'Perfect Tables’ in 2006. This was followed by 'William Yeoward on Entertaining’ and 'William Yeoward The Perfect Host’ both in 2008; 'William Yeoward at Home' in September 2010 and 'William Yeoward American Bar' in 2012. He completed his sixth book ‘Blue & White and other stories’ which launched in Autumn 2017.
William was devoted to his work, his extensive circle of family and friends and of course his team at William Yeoward. In 2016 he invited Chris Grafham, a friend and colleague of many years, to join the company as CEO to ensure the continuity of his life’s work and to steer the company in to the future. That was his plan and in his team he has left his vision and aspirations in very safe hands. His spirit will forever be the foundation of all that we do at William Yeoward.