Koncertni Desky Lucerna

Koncertní Desky Lucerna (Austro-Hungarian Empire) / c. 1912

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Design: The Czech-language label name literally translates into 'Concert Disc Lantern,' thus giving reason for the image of a multi-tiered candle-holder above the spindle-hole (the words 'Ochranná Známka' translate as 'Trade Mark'). The tightness of space allowed for the words 'Desky Lucerna' has made for somewhat cramped and uneven letterforms on that side. The border, with its organically flowing tendrils, is typical of the Art Nouveau style, which dominated both fine art and advertising in the late 19th and early 20th century, its greatest genius in both fields being the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939). The red and gold colour combination (and, below, green and gold) can sometimes be hard to read, but here both are well-printed and quite legible.

History: Label scans above and below courtesy of collector Gabriel Gössel of Czechoslovakia, who writes: "Matrices were obtained from the Kalliope and Beka companies. 'H & V Praha' refers to the Hlad & Vlas Company of the city of Prague, which had a newly-built store called 'Lucerna' (Lantern) in the city centre, its very first concrete/iron building, a large 'palais' with a really grand concert hall of prestigious status (as, say, Radio City Music Hall in N.Y.), hosting Caruso, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong etc. etc., and still in use. Hlad & Vlas Co. named their label after the palais because they were among the very first businessmen to rent space there. By the way, this palais was built by the grandfather (and completed later on by the father) of our president Václav Havel."

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