Raoul Cabib Collection

Andrea Cabib Collection

A man of great character and sensitivity, he was direct and passionate at the same time and very sensitive. He was an aesthete, he loved music immensely and appreciated the intrinsic quality of beautiful objects. Raoul was the son of an antique dealer from Genova, an Italian port-town famous for its millenary maritime tradition, and grew up by the water, surrounded by exquisite objects and artefacts which he learned to appreciate and cherish. As an adult, he followed in his father’s footsteps and throughout his life also cultivated a strong passion for mechanics. The initial spark came from a gift he received from his parents as a child. It was a watch which he completely disassembled. From then on, until his late twenties, most of his savings were only invested in watches and then again model boats being him from Genova, he naturally loved the sea and it was in his blood. Pocket watches, bronzes, marine paintings, Persian carpets, tapestry, furniture, cars, motorbikes…anything that was beautiful and of exceptional quality attracted Raoul’s aesthetic sense. The passion for steam engines was the crowning of this path since there is nothing more stimulating for a fond collector than being able to make a static object move. One day, by pure coincidence, an elegant Englishman by the name of Jack Salem entered his gallery in Genova. They immediately became friends as they both shared a common love for the sea and vintage cars. And it was through Jack that Raoul was first introduced to the world of steam train mod- elling. Jack was a keen collector himself and all around the park of his property near Lausanne, Switzerland, he had built a rail circuit which measured several kilometres and on which he used to run his steam locos. Raoul passionately fell in love with this hobby and from the end of the 60’s he started travelling in search of the best steam modellers of the world, search that lasted more than 40 years. The negotiations were based on long and nineteenth-century correspondence with modelers and sometimes to close an acquisition Raoul took even more than one year. He would only buy engines that had been awarded gold medals in competitions, enhancing his collection every year with the addition of increasingly significant pieces. As did his friend Jack, he built a rail track in his home garden to which he also added a drawbridge. He was very proud of it and with his lifetime companion and beloved wife Francamaria, he used to organise ‘steam lunches’ in the garden inviting only true friends. While the trains were running in the background they would dine joyfully sharing their passion for mechanics. Raoul was very protective of his collection and he would only show it to his closest friends. The funny thing was that you knew you were Raoul’s true friend only if were invited to see his trains or not. Raoul would have loved this Museum and we like to think that this is the best place in the world to revive his passion and his love for steam.

This special collection, Raoul Cabib has completed with a great passion throughout the years, brought to our museum in 2015.