A glorious trunk by the French maker Au Départ. With brass fittings and leather trim. Circa 1910. The damaged original cotton lining to the interior has been replaced with a similar one to match.
Dimensions: 101 cm/39¾ inches (length) x 53 cm/20⅞ inches (depth) x 47.5 cm/18¾ inches (height).
Au Départ are one of the Grande Marques of French luggage makers. They were founded in 1834 around the advent of railway travel; Au Départ literally means 'at departure'. In 1847, Au Départ first opened at 7 Boulevard Denain in Paris selling luggage and travel goods, positioned opposite the newly opened Gare du Nord railway station.
However, it wasn't until 1871 that the company really began to expand, when it was taken over by the Bertin brothers, Ernest and Paul who had started their business selling haberdashery at the Saint-Quentin market and then expanded to include bags and baskets.
Under the stewardship of the Bertin brothers a second Paris shop was opened in 1874 at 29, Avenue de l’Opéra, while the Boulevard Denain store expanded its product offering to include armoury, hunting and fishing equipment in addition to travel items. Years passed by and Au Départ fulfilled the exquisite travelling needs of the European upper class.