Bruguier, Charles-Abraham (The Senior)


Charles-Abraham Bruguier, the senior was born on January 5, 1788, in the family of a clockmaker and inherited the helm. In October 1813, he married Louise-Pernette Noiret, and in June 1814, their daughter Jacqueline was born.

A year later, in June 1815 Charles-Abraham took his family to London, where they lived for several years. Other children were born there: Charles-Abraham in 1818 and Louise in 1821.

The Bruguier family returned to Switzerland around 1823. It was apparently only after his return to Geneva that Charles-Abraham began creating singing birds.

Between 1833 and 1837, Bruguier moved to the town of Sainte-Suzanne in France, to work in the Paur (later renamed as the L'epee) music-box factory. This fact explains the existence of music boxes with the Bruguier signature.

In 1837, the Bruguier family returned to Geneva. After 1843, Bruguier acquired property in Gran-Pre (the north from Geneva), and transferred his workshop there. The last reference we have concerning Bruguier was his application for the passport in December 1861, for a scheduled trip to Paris. Six months later, in June 1862, he passed away at the age of 74.

Bruguier, the senior is known for his unique bird boxes. Hence, he created other mechanical art items, quite unusual ones. As cited by his grandson “a clock surmounted by a vase, in the center of which a rose opens up every hour. A hummingbird appears from this rose. It sings and hides back, whereupon the rose closes up again”; “… a flute player is leaning against a tree. He plays and every movement of his fingers corresponds to a note. A small bird appears and sings; the man descends his flute and turns his head to listen. A cat suddenly appears and pounces on the bird just as it finishes its song, but the bird disappears and the man begins playing again”.

Exhibits in the Museum Collection