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Eccentric heiress’s travel pieces up for grabs

One of the most important travel piece commissions for Louis Vuitton second-gen, Georges Vuitton, is to be auctioned off in Paris this week.
Tilbury accompanied by a set of trunks, by Vuitton and V. Morel
© CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LIMITED 2013

One of the most important travel piece commissions for Louis Vuitton second-gen, Georges Vuitton, is to be auctioned off in Paris this week.

The three trunks and tilbury carriage were produced in 1910 for eccentric explorer Blanche de Clermont-Tonnerre, who used it in her travels to India, China, Siberia, Iraq and Persia.

Vuitton was commissioned to produce three trunks, covered in the brand’s then famous red leather, while V Morel produced the carriage.

Vuitton took over management of the family firm when his father and company founder, Louis Vuitton, died in 1892. Vuitton developed the brand into a worldwide label and under his tenure its now-famous monogram was patented.

On her adventures with the travel pieces, de Clermont-Tonnerre mingled with royal families from the East, hunted for tigers, and even captured a polar bear, which she brought back to her Parisian mansion in the hope of domesticating it.

Expected to sell for €50,000 to €80,000, the carriage and trunk set have remained in the explorer’s family to date.

Today Louis Vuitton is majority owned by Bernard Arnault, who bought the conglomerate in 1989, shortly after it merged with wine and spirits company Moet Hennessey. His daughter, Delphine, is currently deputy general manager of the Louis Vuitton brand.

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