A late twentieth century aneroid wheel barometer manufactured to commemorate the Royal marriage of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 by O. Comitti & Son and was specially commissioned for Garrard The Crown Jewellers of Regent Street, London.
Limited to only 200 pieces, it was commissioned as a reproduction of an original early nineteenth century wheel barometer originally presented by John Russell of Falkirk to the Prince Regent (later George IV), which is now housed in Buckingham palace and resides in the Queen’s Royal Collection. Another forms part of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection.
This superbly crafted aneroid version of the original, is exacting in all other details with mahogany case surrounded by twisted brass stringing, central panels of black & gilt verre eglomise containing Russell’s signature thistle motif to the base and completed to the top with a brass Prince of Wales feather finial. The thermometer is signed to O Comitti & Son and contains both Fahrenheit and Royal Society temperature scales. The latter was an early attempt to standardise temperature measurement.
The aneroid barometer has three separate dials which allow for accurate atmospheric pressure reading to one hundredth of an inch and full original instructions and advertisements pictured with the instrument are included with the sale of this item.
About the makers:
O Comitti & Son
Comitti remain a renowned name in clockmaking and have a history that stems back to the mid nineteenth century when Onorato Comitti emigrated to the UK. The company rose in fame and by the end of the century had received the Diploma of Honour for their clockmaking skills. They also continue to provide scientific instruments such as barographs and barometers as part of their stock in trade.
The firm that was to become Garrard was founded in 1735 by a George Wickes who received Royal Patronage from The Prince of Wales for his work. After numerous ownership, Robert Garrard joined the company in 1792 and took sole ownership in 1802. Under his stewardship, the company was appointed in 1843 to the position of Crown Jewellers by Queen Victoria. They were responsible during this time for creating a number of commissions for the Royal Family such as the re-cutting of the infamous Koh-I-Noor diamond, the making of the Imperial Crown of India and Crowns for both Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
In 1998, Garrards merged with Asprey to become Asprey & Garrard. They demerged in 2002 and continued with their Royal Warrant status until 2007. It is suggested that an ill-fated advertising campaign under the stewardship of Jade Jagger and based upon a pastiche of the Royal Warrant was to blame for this departure, although this has not been publicly admitted by the Royal Warrants Association.
This unusual and rare barometer reflects the later output of both Comitti and Garrard. In addition to its quality, it has some interesting provenance associated with the marriage of Charles & Diana. A superior souvenir from the period.