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!