Robb Design Portfolio: Rare Forecast

  • These circa-1825 Charles X barometers are being offered by antiques dealer Mallett.
  • Kristine M. Carber

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.

From Around the Web...
Photo by Moscow The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Sergei Shchukin’s beloved art collection has not been assembled at a single site since the 1940s…
The painting depicts the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian…
MB&F and Caran d’Ache join forces to make a writing instrument that launches imagination into...
The artist’s limited-edition bicycles represent the human need for freedom and expression…
Hear Why Barbara Guggenheim taps Jean-Michel Basquiat as one to buy…
This pen is the perfect gift for the music lover in your life…
Photo by Jorge Monedero
Linley, who grew up a royal, talks about heritage, craft, and collectability…
The Profiles in History sale will also offer animation cells and props from Disney’s greatest hits…
Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie
Harry Potter fans, get ready to bid on a rare, bejeweled copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard
If you love The Hobbit, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, or the Dude, you’ll want to own these games…