Robb Design Portfolio: Rare Forecast

  • 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.

Read Next Article >>
The vast collection of Morris Everett Jr. is only available as a single lot…
Auction Previews and Noteworthy Sales
Inspiring Discoveries & Insights
The December 17 auction will include 15 of the British leader’s finest paintings…
The fifth and final release of a pen collection celebrating religions, the Visconti Al-Aqsa (www....
Harry Heuts Photograph
Gifts for the collector...
“When I’m leaving my bedroom I see it straightaway,”
Gerry McGovern, the design director of Land Rover, first saw Pulse on his computer screen. The...
Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
The Vernacular Imagery, Photobooks & Fine Photographs auction is scheduled for December 11…
The auction will offer examples of all but six of René Lalique’s clock designs…
Photo by Riccardo Urnato
Coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi’s birth is the release...