Robb Design Portfolio: Rare Forecast

The ability to predict the weather with godlike accuracy began with a single invention: the barometer. In 1643, a student of Galileo discovered that by measuring air pressure one could forecast sun, rain, wind, or thunderbolts, and barometers soon went from meteorological tools to status symbols of the elite, with ornate wood and gold-leaf barometers hanging in castles and the homes of nobility.

"Just as fashions changed, so did barometers," says Nicholas Wells, associate director of the English antiques dealer Mallett (+44.20.7499.7411, www.mallettantiques.com). During the neoclassical period, the instruments reached a pinnacle of opulence evidenced by the two rare Charles X specimens shown here. The circa-1825 barometers, on offer from Mallett, bear many signatures of the era, including verre églomisé (gilded glass). The one incorporating a stylized lyre (left) features a central cartouche with a surmounted thermometer ($25,000); the other device (right) is an unusual diamond design with decorative spandrels ($21,250). The forecast for finding either of them again: Chance at best.

Street photography is stepping into a thrilling new era...
“It really was a gap in art history,” Falconer says...
The April 28 sale will focus on the iconic photographer’s images of the American West…
Detective Don Hrycyk has returned an estimated $121 million in stolen works to their rightful...
The Solid Fountain Pen Gold Edition’s barrel is constructed entirely from 14-karat gold…
Photo by Leslie Bird
The Oakland Athletics enjoyed a dynastic run of success in the 1970s, winning three World Series in...
Photo by Christie’s Images LTD.
In 2006, Bonhams London introduced an annual auction as curious as the objects it proffered. Called...
Photo by he Weinstein Company
Bonhams attributes the high realized price in part to The Imitation Game, the recent film about...
Photo by Capital Records LLC
“American Pie” topped the Billboard charts shortly after its 1971 release...
Photo by Christie’s Images LTD.
King John of Saxony commissioned a young Dresden coachbuilder to create a sweet town coach...