La Montre Chinois. Relations de l’Horologie Suisse avec la China - Alfred Chapuis, Gustave Loup 1919 - Attinger Frères, Neuchatel - First Edition A superb and fine copy, illustrated with 33 colour and black & white plates, and 245 half-tone illustrations. Included is an introduction on ‘L’Horométrie et le Système cosmologique des Chinois’ by Léopold de Saussure.

A survey of European cosmological instruments and mechanical amusements introduced to the Chinese Imperial Court from the 14th century, and the elaborate Swiss timepieces made for that market in Europe and in China, the first seeming to be by Francois-Louis Stadlin, a Swiss Jesuit in China from 1707-1740. The whole is referenced with texts from the contemporary writings of ambassadors, merchant traders and churchmen; preceded by de Saussure’s essay on ancient Chinese cosmology.

Prominent Swiss makers included Charles de Constant in the 18th century and the Bovet family in the 19th century, and many examples of their timekeepers could be found in the imperial palaces.

The copy of Alain de Suzannet.
  Gustave Loup was well-known in horological circles in the early 20th century for his impressive Chinese market collection and his unmatched knowledge of horological export to China. Following his death, little is known about what became of his collection and his contribution to this market fell somewhat into obscurity. The renewed focus on Chinese market pieces by 21st century collectors brings new attention to this fascinating figure.

Much of what is known of Loup is based largely on the scholarly writings of Alfred Chapuis, the famed Swiss horological author and scholar working in the first half of the 20th century. He met Loup in Geneva in 1914 and viewed his astonishing collection for the first time. Subsequently, the two became good friends and collaborators and in 1919, they published
Le Montre Chinois, which features more than 70 watches from Loup's personal collection.

Chapuis notes that "his collecting reversed that trade and brought back to Switzerland a collection as the living and sumptuous witnesses of the Art of Western ancient artisans and watchmakers."

Loup was born in the late 19th century to a Swiss watch making family living in China. At the time of his birth, it is thought the family was based in Tianjin. His father Pierre was living and working for Vaucher Frères in Hong Kong as early as 1859. In 1881, the family purchased Vrard & Co., which had premises in Tianjin and Beijing. Gustave Loup was thus uniquely positioned to enjoy a century's worth of horological works exported from England, Switzerland and France to China and figures prominently in the story of the Western repatriation of Chinese market horological masterpieces.

During Loup's life, parts of his 200-piece collection were displayed in several important museums and exhibitions in Switzerland: The Museum of Decorative Arts in Geneva, 1914; The Retrospective Exhibition of the Fair of Watch-making in Geneva, 1920; Display Rooms of Watch-Making, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1932-33. In the La Chaux-de-Fonds exhibition, Chapuis described Loup's pieces as 'enlivened with automata and displaying amusing effects.'

Loup finally settled in Geneva following years of shuttling between Switzerland and China. His last trips east occurred between 1922-1925 and 1928-1930. Chapuis notes that he devoted these trips to enriching his collection. Loup's knowledge was so respected in China at the time that he was asked twice to be a horological conservator of the Palace Museum. Though he declined these offers, he later regretted the decision, thinking he could have exerted an influence to keep the Palace Collection intact.

Provenance: Le Comte Alain de Suzannet (1882-1950), with his engraved bookplate. Alain de Suzannet died on his estate on Lac Leman, La Petite Chardiere. He was a bibliophile, and prolific collector of books and manuscripts, his Dickens collection given to Dickens House, London, his Toepffer collection to the Bibliotheque Publique et Universitaire de Geneve, and his Alpine collection to the Alpine Club, London, of which he was a member and for which he acted as an agent in Switzerland in purchasing Fuhrerbuch (Alpine guides' manuscript record books of ascents with clients) and rare archival material - all now in the Alpine Club collections. Other collections and paintings went elsewhere and there were two auctions of books in his library - 1938 of material in his father's collection and 1971 further books from his own collections, sold by his family.

Quarto pp. [2] xiii [1] 272 [2]. Indexed. In publisher’s maroon cloth, titled in gilt, illustrated in black.
  Condition: Fine   Ref: 107174   Price: HK$ 8,000