This was printed to travel the world: the hotel staff would stick them on guests' luggage, then off they'd go around the world, advertising the hotel as they went.
This label had a quieter destiny, picked up and carried home in the traveller's scrapbook. Years later the label ended up for sale, was bought, scanned, and here it is.
You might have seen this picture before, or others from the same artist. Look carefully under the 'A' of China, and you'll see his signature, 'Dan Sweeney'. He painted several labels for the Hong-Kong & Shanghai Hotels in the late 1920s: four of their Hong Kong properties, and two of their hotels in Shanghai.
There's a little artistic licence used in this painting, with no road shown between the hotel and the beach. Minor quibbles, for it certainly does the job intended. Who wouldn't want to pay a visit to those beautiful blue seas, and perhaps while away a day in one of the huts along the beach?
- Full set of Dan Sweeney's labels for hotels in Asia on Flickr
- A brief bio of Dan Sweeney
- A history of luggage labels
I have seen a few similar
I have seen a few similar hotel labels on ebay. Would an authentic 1920's label say "Hong Kong China" in view of HK's status as a colony at the time?
re: "Hong Kong China"
Good question - it does seem a bit strange, doesn't it? If you look at the set on Flickr, you'll see three of the four Hong Kong labels say "Hong Kong China", and the other just says "Hong Kong".
As a guess, he may simply have chosen the wording that would give the lettering the best appearance. eg if he'd just used 'Hong Kong' on this label, it wouldn't have looked as symmetrical with the lettering across the top.
Hong Kong is not Japan
Having heard the remark for many decades now "funny, you don't look Japanese" to my statement that I was raised in Hong Kong, it is clear to me that for the geographically challenged and for advertising to the masses - emphasising - Hong Kong, CHINA - is important.
funny, you don't look Chinese
funny, you don't look Chinese either :-)
Actually, I was fairly shocked to get a similar comment from an ex-colleague back in the UK. Being from South Africa I would have expected him to be a bit more worldy-wise, but when he heard I was moving to HK he said "I've always wanted to go to Japan - can you buy me a samurai sword?"