Advice on how and what to pack for prospective voyagers in the 19th and 20thcenturies could be found detailed in various women’s journals, such as Harper’s Bazaar. For those who could afford it, a Louis Vuitton trunk could transport a full wardrobe with ease and care, and its recognisable monogrammed exterior pledged to any onlooker the affluence and style of its owner.
The Louis Vuitton travel trunk became a hallmark of travelling in style from its conceptualisation. Its debut in 1858 as the first flat-topped travel luggage demarcated a departure from the traditional domed-top style of travel trunks, whose curved tops encouraged water run-off. Vuitton’s innovative flat-topped luggage was made possible by a water-tight design and waterproof canvas material. The trunk remained sturdy yet became lighter, and its flat top made it stackable, allowing for an impressive economisation of space.
Up for sale in our next ‘At Home’ auction, taking place on Monday 27thNovember at 11am, are two early 20th century flat-topped travel trunks by Louis Vuitton. Lot 142 is a double wardrobe steamer trunk, its exterior featuring the iconic monogram print with stencil painted initials and blue painted lines, as well as original travel labels for ‘Rex Italian Line “Italia” Steamship Company’ and ‘Great Southern Railways to Knightsbridge.’ Its hinged top opens to reveal twin sections of hanging compartments, with extended hangers and removable privacy curtains, and a retailer’s label at the base: ‘Bought from Saks & Company Fifth Avenue, New York.’ Lot 141 is a smaller travel trunk, with a stamped and patented locks, carrying handles at each end, a canvas lined interior, and monogrammed fabric worn to exterior. The travel stickers and custom monograms supplements their value, integrating expert design with a personalised history.
The timeless design and expert craftsmanship of these trunks ensures their longevity as a stylish addition to any living room, as a coffee table or storage chest.
See our ‘Upcoming Auctions’ page for more information.
Written by Kitty Astor, November 2023
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