Raoul BIGAZZI [c.1888-1962] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Raoul BIGAZZI [c.1888-1962]

Names
Given: 
Raoul
Family: 
Bigazzi
Sex: 
Male
Status: 
Deceased
Birth
Date: 
c.1888-12-01 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)
Birthplace (town, state): 
Pontremol, Tuscany
Birthplace (country): 
Death
Date: 
1962-12-11

Annex II in the MMIS document, "Acceptance of a Sculpture from Euston" dated 1981 says this about him:

Note on RAOUL BIGAZZI by
Dr. S.M. Bard, OBE, JP,
Executive Secretary (Antiquities & Monuments)

Raoul Bigazzi, an Italian national, came to Hong Kong in the early 1930's from Italy (possibly Florence). He established an office and a workshop in Hong Kong of which he was the general manager and which was advertised as "Artistic Works and Decorations, marble, stone, bronze, wrought iron, mosaic and terazzo". He was responsible for decorations in many fine buildings, including Eucliff and Euston. It is uncertain whether he himself was the sculptor and artisan, or mainly the contractor; but it is certain that the many works of fine craftsmanship in Hong Kong were produced under his personal supervision.

2. It is not clear what happened to him during the war and occupation; he might have returned to Italy, but he re-appeared in Hong Kong shortly after the war and re-established his office in the former Union Building (2nd floor).

3. R. Bigazzi was the contractor for the mosaic ceiling of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (designed by the artist Podgoursky), which was recently demolished. He was also responsible for the restoration, after the war, of the bronze statue of Queen Victoria, now in Victoria Park, which he did after considerable and painstaking research in the original United Kingdom sources.

4. Bigazzi died some 15 or 20 years ago, but it is not certain whether in Hong Kong or abroad.

Photos that show this person

1930
2006

Comments

He appears in the 1941 Jurors List:

c   Bigazzi, Raoul Decorator, Raoul Bigazzi 26 Canal Road W.

Here are some of my notes on Raoul Bigazzi :-

Raoul Bigazzi was originally from Italy. He was naturalised as a British Subject on 1 November 1938, in Hong Kong, Cert. No. 02287. ( Ref. National Archives UK)​

“Bigazzi R, Interior Decorator”, was interned in Stanley Internment Camp during the Japanese occupation. His age in August 1942 was given as 55 years. 

In 1947 he was commissioned to create two bronze tablets for the Hong Kong Police Roll of Honour memorial. Originally located in the lobby of the Hollywood Road block of the Central Police Station Complex, these two tablets, since 2004 have been incorporated in the memorial on 3/F of Arsenal House, Police Headquarters in Arsenal Street. (It was also noted that by 1947 he had already created memorial tablets for the Hong Kong Club.)

In 1949 his Hong Kong office was situated on 2/F Union Building. A “Bronze Foundry & Workshop” was situated at Godown 1,3,5&7 Wing Loong Street, Castle Peak Road.

An “R. Bigazzi” served in the Special Constabulary in Central Police Station in 1952. It is not clear if this is the same person detained in Stanley during the war (who by then would have been 65 years old).

In 1952 Raoul Bigazzi restored the statue of Queen Victoria which is now located in Victoria Park. Raoul Bigazzi’s name is inscribed on the western side of the statue. 

 

 

Marriage St Martins Registry Office London 15 October 1921

Raoul Bigazzi bachelor art dealer to Grettie May Cheriton 1894 - 1971 [ she remarried i 1937]

Passenger List Hong Kong to Honolulu 31 July 1931

Raoul Bigazzi age 42 art dealer  last permanent residence Shanghai born Pontescula

Ada Bigazzi nee Cioni born Florence

Passenger List 6 August 1931 Honolulu to San Francisco

Raoul Bigazzi age 42 sculptor decorator born Pontremol Italy last permanent residence  Shanghai

Ada Cioni Bigazzi age 30 born Florence

The Industrial History of Hong Kong Group website has illustrations of his early life and various works including the ceiling of the HKSB.

Very interesting chap - art dealer, celebrated Florentine marble sculptor, patriot, Italian soldier, Stanley Internee, businessman - Found lots on him. Too busy atm to post them but suffice to say multiple records indicate he was born circa Dec 1888 Pontremol, Tuscany, Italy and died Hong Kong 11th December 1962 (obituary in South China Morning Post 14 Dec 1962 edition- please see Carl Smith collection) although the Carl Smith notes indicated aged 67 years at time of death. Baptismal records can be sought for him for a more accurate birth time for Pontremol, Italy (under Massa e Carrara on familysearch.com) but over 3000 digitized images to wade through in Italian. Maybe another time(!)