Furniture designer Timothy Oulton is offering an amazing 1925 Goyard trunk – one of only seven ever created – designed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as a mobile office. He was a keen traveller but wanted to continue to write beyond London so the trunk, which is standard in size from the outside, contains a fully folding table and even a bookcase.
This piece comes from Timothy Oulton’s own private collection – he is a prolific collector of antique and vintage trunks in his own right. Three others are kept in private collections, two are still owned by Goyard and one is in a museum. This remarkable trunk is offered at £96,000.
Timothy Oulton said: “I’ve been collecting vintage trunks for many, many years. I started out in my dad’s antiques shop when I left school, and one of the first things I started selling was old leather suitcases and trunks. I just loved the handcraftsmanship, the worn patina of the leather, and the incredible detail that went into each piece – right down to the locks and handles. I’ve currently got about 160 trunks – mainly Louis Vuitton and some Goyard, many of which are extremely rare. I think the treasure hunt for the rarest pieces is part of the obsession for me, I still get butterflies when we go to the auctions!
“The Goyard trunk that was made for Arthur Conan Doyle is one of only seven ever made. It has such a great story to it, the transformation from trunk to writing desk was incredibly innovative at the time, and there’s this romantic notion of Doyle penning his novels in some far flung place – there aren’t many stories like that in antiques. There’s just something perennially enduring about trunks, they’re a great example of antiques being relevant in modern interiors.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who lived from 1859 to 1930, is best known as the author of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories, but also wrote the historical adventures of Brigadier Gerard and the science fiction adventures of Professor Challenger. Educated in Edinburgh, he travelled widely throughout Europe and to West Africa, dabbled in politics, and took an interest in miscarriages of justice, spiritualism and architecture.
French trunk and leather goods maker Goyard was established in Paris in 1853, expanded under Edmond Goyard from 1885 to 1937, and was bought by in 1998 by Jean-Michel Signoles, who turned the privately owned company into an internationally renowned brand. It has a reputation for secrecy, avoiding self-promotion, advertising, or e-commerce, and refusing to grant interviews.