Sotheby’s explores the art of travel

Vintage Louis Vuitton trunks are among the treasures at an online auction that rediscovers a golden age of globetrotting

Norman Parkinson’s The Art of Travel (1951), £8,000-£12,000
Norman Parkinson’s The Art of Travel (1951), £8,000-£12,000

Those who have no truck with budget airlines or packing light might like to make the journey to London’s Belmond Cadogan Hotel on Monday December 2 to see highlights from the latest Sotheby’s online thematic sale – The Art of Travel. Subsequently on view at the firm’s New Bond Street galleries from December 7 to 11, the auction aims to “explore the enduring allure of travel” through almost 100 diverse lots with a combined value in the region of £1m, but with individual estimates starting at just £600.

Several vintage Louis Vuitton pieces are included in the sale, including this cocktail bar and humidor customised trunk, £40,000-£50,000
Several vintage Louis Vuitton pieces are included in the sale, including this cocktail bar and humidor customised trunk, £40,000-£50,000
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Among the highlights is a selection of vintage Louis Vuitton trunks, one of which is kitted out with a cocktail bar and humidor (£40,000-£50,000), while others include a motoring case designed to be carried on a car luggage rack (£10,000-£15,000) and an early-20th-century wardrobe trunk that truly speaks of the “golden age” of travel (£15,000-£20,000).

Norman Parkinson’s Wenda and Ostriches (1951), £2,000-£3,000
Norman Parkinson’s Wenda and Ostriches (1951), £2,000-£3,000
Louis Vuitton motoring trunk, £10,000-£15,000
Louis Vuitton motoring trunk, £10,000-£15,000

More unusual offerings include the Stroma Yole “Bee”, an Orkney fishing boat built 115 years ago near Mey, one of the most northerly points of mainland Britain. Still entirely seaworthy and currently owned by the Berwickshire Maritime Trust, the oak-framed, larch-planked sailboat originally belonged to a collective on the island of Stroma and is now tipped to fetch up to £15,000.

Gucci leather saddle, £2,000-£3,000
Gucci leather saddle, £2,000-£3,000
Louis Vuitton limited-edition 1998 World Cup football, £3,000-£5,000
Louis Vuitton limited-edition 1998 World Cup football, £3,000-£5,000

Those who prefer less damp forms of transport, meanwhile, may bid for a steam model of the locomotive King George V (£10,000-£12,000) or a tan leather horse saddle made by Gucci (modestly estimated at £2,000-£3,000).

Steam model of the locomotive King George V, £10,000-£12,000
Steam model of the locomotive King George V, £10,000-£12,000
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Other oddities include an intact egg from an elephant bird, a species that may have became extinct as early as the 13th century. Measuring 310mm high and weighing 2kg, the hollow egg is expected to realise up to £30,000, while a perfectly round limited-edition football created by Louis Vuitton to mark the 1998 World Cup could fetch £3,000-£5,000.

The sale also features a collection of dozens of late-19th- and early-20th-century travel photographs depicting scenes from locations as far afield as the Philippines, Norway, Mexico and Japan (£800-£1,200), while a brace of images snapped in 1951 by the late and legendary lensman Norman Parkinson comprise The Art of Travel at £8,000-£12,000 and Wenda and Ostriches (£2,000-£3,000).

A selection of travel-related drawings and paintings is also on offer – the most valuable being a pastel study of Venice by the French-Algerian artist Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer – while the sale will be rounded off with the opportunity to bid for a stay for two at the acclaimed Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. Created by celebrity chef Raymond Blanc, the 15th-century manor house hotel has held its two Michelin stars for 35 years. The successful bidder for the lot gets two nights in a junior suite and “carte blanche” to dine on anything from the restaurant’s menus, selected wines and full breakfast on both mornings. The package also includes a day at the Raymond Blanc cookery school – and a chance to meet with the man himself. Bids of up to £5,000 are expected.

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