An unusual and very attractive silver plated and ormolu Victorian novelty hourglass barometer No 2 by George Betjemann & Sons c1880

Novelty Ormolu and Silver Plated Desk Barometer by George Betjemann No 2 c1880


Desk barometer having 2⅝” silvered and engraved dial, the circumference annotated with standard meteorological terms, the inner barometric scale calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 25 – 31, divided to 20th, fine blued steel pointer, index, bevelled glass. Vidi pattern movement driven from a C spring tensioned 1.5″ capsule, contained within a drum form, spring easel standing or stowed flat case.

The hour glass stand with finely engine turned scroll work and rope twist decoration, the upper parts raised on three turned Sheraton style ormolu pillars, the simulated glasses with bright silver plated finish. The base with Registered Design diamond for 28 February 1877.

Condition: Fully serviced, conserved, and calibrated under laboratory conditions. Overall crisp, retaining a very high proportion of original finish, the barometer dial clean, the movement working well with very acceptable levels of accuracy, see performance chart. The easel stand mechanism working correctly.

Comments: A good example of George Betjemann’s flair for design and innovation, and a commentary on the tastes and appreciation of Victorians. Many such novelty items had been produced with subjects as diverse as railway engines and lighthouses. This piece modelled on an hourglass is  no. 2 of those produced – this is the first and only example of this model seen, suggesting limited production.

The hourglass has very good proportion, a natural draw to the eye – the modelled glasses catching many reflections, creating an object combining both fine aesthetic values and functionality. The perfect piece for a desk or side table.

For the collector or connoisseur alike.

George Betjemann & Sons was a London-based cabinet maker founded in 1851 by George Betjemann, and based at 36-40 Pentonville Road. It became George Betjemann & Sons in 1858 when his two sons, George William and John (grandfather of the Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman) joined the firm, and displayed their work at the International Exhibition of 1862 and also at the Paris International Exposition in 1867. The firm continued with various generations of Betjemann sons, converting into a limited company in 1909 until 1939 when it was sold.

Dimensions: 4″ diameter x 5″ high (7½” high when open)

Stock No: BA1860

Price: £1150







Recent Portfolios