When the weather outside is frightful – you definitely need a barometer

January 13th 2015

As 2015 gets well and truly underway, the UK has seemingly been battered by storm after storm from the Atlantic – wind, rain, and snow in Scotland. Mother nature hasn’t really made up her mind what sort of winter we are going to have.

Last night London had rain and wind, but this morning we’ve had bright sunshine and then rain again. What are you to do when the weather can’t make up its mind? Raffety have the perfect solution – invest in an antique barometer.

Barometers became a popular item in the British home from the early 18th century, and they have never gone out of fashion in a land where talking about the weather is a national pastime. They offer an immediate and accurate measure of the local, prevailing weather conditions and future trends of weather to come. They also look stunning on the wall in an entrance hall, foyer, drawing-room, stairway or library – they can fit in a small corner or narrow space and quickly become the focal point of the room. The two main types of barometer are the stick barometer, with the scale set in a rectangular or square top, and banjo or wheel barometers, with a round dial near the base and a thermometer above. They come in a variety of veneers ranging from walnut and mahogany to rosewood, sometimes with decorative marquetry, mother of pearl or ivory inlays.

A Fine mahogany bow-fronted stick baromter by Anthony Pastorelli, London. Circa 1830. Raffety Ltd.

A Fine mahogany bow-fronted stick barometer by Anthony Pastorelli, London. Circa 1830. Raffety Ltd.

A fine example is this mahogany bow-fronted stick barometer by Anthony Pastorelli of London which dates to about 1830. Anthony Pastorelli (active 1829-1846) made chronometers and barometers at 4 Cross Street, Hatton Garden. He seems to have taken over a business started by his father, Fortunato Pastorelli, who began as a glass blower before employing these skills to make barometers. Anthony’s son Francis in turn succeeded him at 4 Cross Street in the mid 1840s, and had additional premises at 208 Piccadilly . The business continued under different names and partnerships into the 20th century.

Detail of the engraved scale on barometer by Anthony Pastorelli, London. raffety Ltd.

Detail of the engraved scale on barometer by Anthony Pastorelli, London. Raffety Ltd.

This elegant barometer, set in a figured mahogany case, has a bowed and moulded top, above a silvered, rectangular register plate, finely engraved with the states of the weather and the maker’s name in script. The trunk has a glazed thermometer and below is a turned urn cistern holder, with canted sides decorated with ebony stringing.

This and many other examples of elegant 18th and early 19th century barometers can be viewed on our website and at our gallery at 79 Kensington Church Street. We are happy to assist you to find the perfect barometer to suit your taste and your home. Whatever one you choose, a barometer will give you a reading of the weather for years to come.