One of my longtime obsessions has been a French barometer!
If you love antiques like I do, you probably have a whole wish list of pieces that you would love to find at a good price. I know that I do.
Over the years , I’ve found many things on my wish list, and one in particular that’s very special to me is an antique 19th c. French Barometer.
For years, I’ve been enamored with these lovely, ornate French barometers in the homes of interior designers. I would see their homes featured in magazines, on social media and Pinterest, and I would instantly be drawn to these antique beauties displayed on their walls.
I found my octagonal shaped French Barometer at an auction, and was able to win the bid at a mere $87.00!
The auctioneer described it as “some type of clock”. I’m sure that him not knowing exactly what it was contributed to my being able to buy it at such a low price.
Typically the oldest barometers that once used mercury to determine pressure no longer function, which is fine with me, because I look at it as a piece of art with all of its carved details, and gilded patina.
Originally, barometers were not used for meteorological observations, but for measuring heights and to use in air pump and vacuum experiments.
Weather forecasting became a secondary feature once it was realized that a connection existed between the alterations of the weight of the air and alterations in the weather.
My winning bid was a good price, however I didn’t realize how good until I was able to do some research.
I found two identical antique French octagonal barometers listed online, one for $2999 and the other $4500. They are extremely rare to find, and the prices can be quite high.
It is clear that the craftsmen of the 17th -19th century were devoted to making barometers during this time, in beautiful and intricate cases.
Until about 1780, barometers were still the domain of scientists and the wealthy, but then they started to move out of Italy, up through France and into England.
The Italians were the original craftsmen responsible for making barometers, and they were crafted mainly in the northern towns of Venice and Milan.
After 1780 barometers began to be made in France, both in the familiar banjo shape and the very desirable octagonal shape, all fabulously gilded in the Louis XV style of French furniture, which just happens to my favorite French style!
Barometers are the perfect shape to anchor a small wall, and they have the presence to become the focal point in any room in which they’re displayed.
Today, Barometers, especially very old ones, are reimagined as decorative pieces for beautiful homes. They can be, and are, displayed in literally every room of the home.
In our new home, I’ve displayed the barometer in the dining room, even though I don’t know how long it will stay there before I decide to move it somewhere else. It seems I’m always moving and rearranging things!
I have an idea to hang vintage Italian Florentine shelves around it, or possibly transferware plates. I haven’t quite decided yet, especially since I’m planning on adding picture frame molding to the walls in the dining room, so everything will be moved at some point anyway.
There are so many different ways to display an antique French Barometer.
They look fabulous over a fireplace, hanging on the front of a French cabinet, or tucked onto a side wall. I’ve also seen them hung on library shelves!
I haven’t tried it yet, but I also love the idea of “floating” a French barometer on the front of a mirror (easy to do with a suction cup hook)!
Antique French Barometers may not be used today the way they were originally intended, but they make absolutely gorgeous works of art!
My barometer still retains it’s original French label on the back, which adds one of those sweet little details to this treasured piece.
French Barometers are highly collectable and make a gorgeous decorative objet d’art in interior decorating.
They will instantly add a sense of history and elegance to any home. I love finding antique pieces that tell a story, and these barometers definitely do that!
Whether you purchase just one, or collect many to form a nice display, an antique French barometer will be a focal point wherever you display it. In fact, take a look at a variety of decor magazines, and I bet you’ll start to notice that ornate French barometers are featured quite often!
Over the years, I’ve found several other antique French Barometers, and I have always ended up selling them in my online shop.
Now, I wish I had them all back! They would make such a charming vignette with Old World charm!
I’d love to hear from you! What do you think about French barometers? Would you decorate with one in your home? Do you own one?
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