Tuesday, October 6, 2009

French Barometers

Earlier this year, I did a post on beautiful clocks, and included all sorts of examples from my inspiration files. The clocks that seemed to catch my eye were the ones with large round faces that resemble train station clocks, as well as mora clocks, with their feminine curves and pale tones. At the end of the post, I mentioned a 'clock' that I had seen on the 'Cote de Texas' blog; it was one of my favorite clocks with its small shape, beautiful green and gold colors, and lovely French style. Joni, author of Cote de Texas, quickly corrected me after I posted and let me know that the item on her blog was a barometer (seen above), not a clock.


At the same time, Southern Accents featured the home of a New Orleans gentleman, and prominently featured on the cover was my new obsession: a French style gilded barometer. I love how this barometer is displayed, hung by a wire in front of a mirror.

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Barometers are instruments used to measure atmospheric pressure. It is clear that craftsmen of the 17th -19th century were devoted to making barometers of the time in beautiful and intricate cases, as can be seen when searching the internet for French barometers, and when visiting museums with a speciality in antique furniture. I had the pleasure of visiting the Getty Museum last summer, and was mesmerized by the section that contained priceless French antiques. In my newfound awareness of French style barometers, I noticed several ornate examples in the Getty collection (pictured above, photos taken with my iphone - just noticed that the vermilion barometer is both a clock and barometer!).


Now my antenna are up, and I notice French barometers every time I see them in a magazine spread. This room, in the home of designer Betty Burgess, features a lovely ornate French barometer.


Betty has a fondness for French barometers; another one is seen in the home that she designed in California. Barometers seem to be the perfect shape to anchor a sliver of wall, and have the presence to become the focal point. Image via Veranda.


Atlanta designer Patricia McLean used a French barometer as the focal point above the fireplace in this room from a recent show house. The fireplace is 'faux' as this is a condominium, but I wonder whether a real fireplace would be a good place for a delicate instrument like a barometer? It looks wonderful in this room, though. Image via Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.


Atlanta designer Carole Weaks uses a large French barometer in her own home. I love the combination that Weaks is known for - antiques, textured fabrics, and contemporary art. It is a beautiful combination.

One of my favorite antique stores in Atlanta, Jacqueline Adams, has a lovely octagonal French barometer in a striking shade of blue.


I featured this room in my last post, and although the intaglios were what initially caught my eye, I also love the barometer unassumingly tucked onto a side wall.


Somehow, somewhere, I learned about designer P. Joe Shaffer. Take a look at his portfolio, it is wonderful. The well composed living room caught my eye, with its magnificent gilded French barometer.

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A charming small scale barometer immediately caught my eye in this picture. Image via Southern Chateau.


A French barometer looks perfectly at home in this dining room; the shape of the barometer is repeated in the shapes on the rug.


Designer Suzanne Kasler always likes to add an antique to the mix, and in this room the French barometer lends the dimension of age to the room.


When Ronda from All the Best visited New Orleans, she had the great privilege of going to Gerrie Bremermann's store. In Ronda's pictures, I immediately spied a French barometer on the wall.


Bremmerman is known for her use of incredible French antiques, and in this room uses a French barometers in her design (seen in a hall off the living room).


I found this picture to be striking - a pair of French barometers. It is highly unusual to find a pair of barometers, as they are designed to work alone. Image via Brooks & Falotico.


Brooke from Velvet & Linen purchased a gilded French barometer from the barometer man at Scott's Antique market. He is there every month, in the North Building. Last month he had a few great examples of French barometers, but not quite the right thing for me. I told Brooke that if I weren't on the West Coast in July, this would be hanging in my house instead of hers! My favorite style of French barometer is banjo shaped (like this one), with a bow ornamentation on the top


And finally, the barometer that inspired this post, in the beautiful room that Joni Webb designed for her client. Joni warned me not to become too enamored with French barometers - they tend to be quite expensive - but I can't help it. I am now on the search for the perfect French barometer. Much of the fun for me is in the search - but please let me know if you come across a particularly beautiful example!

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  1. Great post - I saw these in magazine spreads, never knew what they were. When you say expensive, what price range are you talking about?

  2. I have seen them priced from 1,000-45,000! I think it depends on the age, design, and condition. The barometer person at Scott's also restores barometers, a good thing to keep in mind if you buy one that does not work.

  3. Love them too! Parc Monceau in Atlanta had the most beautiful barometer with a robin's egg blue face. It was amazing! Great post!!

  4. They are so gorgeous. I was just looking at them in that fabulous SA issue the other day. Great post as always!

  5. I learn a lot from you blog! Now I now what a barometer is! I love your blog and the images you find that always come out of fabulous large homes!

  6. What a gorgeous and informative post. I do love the look.
    Happy Twirls

  7. I am in LOVE with the room by: Patricia McLean
    It is amazing to think that a room can have three areas! The bed and then the round table (charming) and then the other two chairs.
    I dream of a large bedroom like that. Until then- I will be happy with my tiny bedroom that only the bed will fit into.

  8. I can see why you are obsessed! I too love how the barometer featured on the cover of Southern Accents is hung over a mirror (I'm really starting to love the look of art, a clock -- or even a barometer -- hung over a mirror.)

    The one at Jacqueline Adams is also gorgeous. Love the blue!

  9. you have great style files! All of the rooms featured are so lovely. I know that I was suppose to be looking at the barometers (and I was I promise) but each image had so much to offer! Thanks

  10. I agree that they are very beautiful to behold. I noticed one in the Oct. 2009 issue of Traditional Home, in the home of designer Eva Quateman (pg 144 if you have it!). I have been looking at them trying to figure out why they catch my eye so, and think that it is because they are scrolly and elegant of course, but they are also pretty on a narrow vertical wall. I love vertical things and narrow walls with good art but it is always hard to find something tall and narrow for these spaces. So these are like little jewels for odd tall walls!

    I am certain I would never find anything like that in a market here! I can't imagine a day at Scott's!

    Great post! xo Terri

  11. Fabulous informative post, as always.
    Great selection of pictures.

  12. I just did a post on my old train station style clock over on my blog. My partner used to live across the road from Spencer Street Station and I would catch the train to see him, so we like having a Spencer Street clock in our living room. We also have a barometre (most farmers in Australia would have one) that hangs under our back porch, as they have to be outside to work correctly, but not exposed. It is wooden and is the Australian iconic brand Cobb & Co. Not overly expensive but lovely (and practical) all the same.


  13. I just posted a picture of that barometer. I want one so bad. let me know if you ever see one at scotts!!!

  14. you know I had never noticed these things before - amazing

  15. I've been fascinated by them since childhood. I've seen some beauties, but hands down these have been the most gorgeous.

  16. Thanks for pointing this out! I too have glossed over barometers thinking they were clocks. I have a barometer- a gift from my late grandfather- but it's a rather utilitarian one compared with these! But no matter- I think it's earned a spot on the wall...somewhere.

  17. I didn't know I like those things...you showed me that I do!

  18. Love that Carole Weaks room!! I would happily spend an afternoon in there!

  19. Love this post, all of the images are beautiful! I love the one with the Santos.

  20. This was a wonderful post! Well barometers, I saw them more when I was a little girl! But in all your images you can see them now! I think they look gorgeous! From now on , I am going to look at interior design images searching to find a barometer!
    Nice post! Thank you.

  21. Wonderful post...I too am obsessed! French barometers are so beautiful!!!

  22. These are great examples- embarrassed to say I didn't realize what those were! (fast glance - clocks?). So thanks for the education :)

  23. What a lovely post. These barometers are so beautiful and interesting! Thanks for the eye candy and education. Just gorgeous.

  24. These barometers are so wonderful. I love them. I've got a very small collection -- but one that is no where near as elegant as these. I'm envious. Thanks for a nice post. -s

  25. I'm learning so much this week from you- the only downside is now I want a barometer and intaglios...sigh...

  26. Oh such eye candy! It was you and Joni that introduced me to barometers. When I saw the one in Atlanta I knew I had to have it. I still don't know where to put it in my home, but I know it will find a cozy place soon.


  27. just so beautiful. And my next question is: do they still work? They're amazing either way but I do love the concept of having a working barometer... (haha would be more incentive for husband to buy!! ;) You've made me want one. hahaha

  28. These are beautiful...definitely piqued my inerest!

  29. My dad is an old fisherman, and we always had barometers around the house...never did get what they meant, but I love anything nautical now!

    The room Joni did is stunning, as are all of the others. Great eye, and collection of images.


  30. Great post !! I love to sell them ! they always go in the most exquisite houses. They look so chic into houses

  31. There are several types of barometers which in include the stick, wheel or banjo, marine, aneroid, and pocket.

  32. I like your post and you have give a such a important information.
    Here i can see almost all kind of barometers and that all are very beautiful. In a large room of house and also preferable for the bed room and also for small houses.

  33. All these weather recording instruments are widely available as individual units or bundled as a weather station. Whatever your reasons for recording the weather, be it as a hobby or as a necessary part of your profession, enjoy the weather whatever it throws at you!


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