About the fine art of travelling

What is this “the fine art of travelling” gallery ?

The Fine art of travelling is a virtual online gallery created to display and share some of the paper items of 20th century (sometimes older) travel related ephemera. Initally I wanted to use this material to create a travel website entirely composed with vintage images and texts before discovering that the collection has grown faster than my ability to publish this site (in French: les voyages de Phileas Fogg).

Everything on this site is original and not reproduction; and nothing is for sale.

What is presented here ? Travel ephemera ?

According Wikipedia, “ephemera (singular: ephemeron) is any transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day. Some collectible ephemera are advertising trade cards, airsickness bags, bookmarks, catalogues, greeting cards, letters, pamphlets, postcards, posters, prospectuses, stock certificates, tickets and zines.”

Practically, will be presented here only travel related ephemera such as luggage labels, travel brochures, postcards and other time tables and maps. Their common identity comes from the fact that they use graphically designed illustrations and not photographies. Most of them are coming from Europe but not all of them. They can be classified in different time periods:

  • End of 19th to end of 1920’s: Art nouveau inspired style mainly from railways companies (including the famous French PLM railways company)
  • 1930’s: Art deco inspired style from a bigger variety of sources (shipping companies, railways)
  • Post second world war (before the 1960’s): the majority of the hotel labels are from this period. Some of them very classical, some of them very modern (especially those coming from the European communist countries)
  • 1960’s: the end of the golden age of the graphic design in travel ephemera.

Where does this collection come from ?

I began to collect travel related ephemera in the beginning of the years 2010. I’ve started at that date a collection of Lucien Boucher’s Air France maps and other PLM 1920’s posters before realizing that they were a bit expensive. In the same time, I realized that it was possible to collect for a reasonable investment, a lot of very beautiful miniatures of these posters in postcards or travel brochures. Initially I was focused on travel brochures and I’ve recently diversified my interest in hotel labels for their highly valuable graphic interest.

In conclusion…

To be informed of the updates, you can follow this website via:
–    the Twitter page,
–    the Facebook page,
–    the RSS flows.

And also on the Ephemera network.

Complementary info

If the documents presented here belong to me, I do not have any publication rights on them; the rights still belong to their initial owner. If you use an image of this website, please credit it from this site and provide the associated link.

  • The template of this website is adapted from the Rasputin WordPress theme by TopWPThemes.
  • The typeface used for the logotype and the main titles is Cassanet, a titling font based on the style of lettering seen on Cassandre posters (it reminds a bit the capital letters of Cassandre’s font Peignot).
  • The ship used for the logotype is coming from a luggage label for the shipping company Norddeutscher Lloyd.



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