How I started: Karen Lansdowne -Travel on Paper

“I bought two posters for my son when he was left a small legacy by a great aunt. We were always taking him off to heritage steam railways and it seemed like an obvious thing to invest in. One of them turned out to be huge, a quad royal (40 x 50”), and so I decided to sell it and get something smaller. And that’s how Travel On Paper came about.

Initially I was buying for myself and selling something when I didn’t have the space to hang it up. Then my work circumstances changed and I found I had more time to look for posters so I set up my website and approached Modern Shows to see if I could have a space at Midcentury Modern. Fortunately I already had a great studio space, a friend gave me a plan chest and I stumbled upon my lovely midcentury browser, a lucky find in Whitstable at a recycling depot.
KW 71

I occasionally go to railway auctions but I don’t travel nearly as much as I’d like to. I have just sold a poster at Swann’s auction house in New York. Next time I put a poster in I’m hoping to be at the sale and maybe buy some pieces too.


One of the most exciting moments in my career so far is when I acted as a broker for the sale of 20 Spanish Civil War posters for someone who approached me at Midcentury Modern recently.  I only deal in travel posters, which is why I didn’t buy them myself but it was a very interesting project. They were bought by someone whose father fought in that war and he plans to give them to The Imperial War Museum.

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I do have people who come back and buy every year but my posters are quite large so I don’t expect too many repeat customers. I don’t really get  big orders. I try to keep my prices reasonable – I’m an enthusiast and I want other people to share my passion. I’ve just counted and we have 18 posters up in our own small victorian terrace – we do have some other things too though.


I look back at my archive and I can’t believe how many lovely posters I’ve sold in what feels like such a short space of time. I’m telling you there are some lucky people out there as I can’t keep them all of the ones I love but I have got quite a few put aside with nowhere to hang them just in case we ever get a bigger placeI live in London; I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else. My house is eclectic rather than mid-century. I’ve just bought a Howard Keith chair but I probably need to de-clutter before I buy anything else. “

Karen Lansdowne of Travel on Paper as seen in Buy Vintage at The Modern Marketplace

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