Daniel Quare, London No. 133

Circa 1710


42 inches high

A rare & important ebonised portable pillar barometer. The rectangular gilt-brass hood with three turned finials and line engraved sides. The central extended finial is hollow to take the glass tube (replaced). The silvered register dial is signed Danl. Quare Lond. Fecit 133 and scaled 28ins to 31ins. The left-hand register descriptions refer to Winter and the right-hand to Summer. The sliding recording pointer is adjusted via a knob to the right hand side. The construction of the case, in ebonised fruitwood, is typical of Quare’s workshop having a solid rectangular wooden cistern cover with mouldings top and bottom, below a twist column, below a turned and tapered column. Two turned Ivory collars divide the three sections. The top section is surmounted by carved volutes leading up to the brass hood. The hood itself has a small fruitwood backboard behind that is v-cut into the top section at the base with symmetrical decorative ‘ears’ above and a moulding to the top, it is fitted with a brass loop for hanging the barometer on the wall. The four gilt-brass feet are adorned with the head and torso of a term. Each foot is hinged and attached to a single plate, allowing them to fold back in position for hanging as well as folding out for standing. The plate also holds the adjusting screw-knob for setting and ‘parking’ the mercury. Comments This pillar barometer, although one of Quare’s simplest models, is of exemplary quality. It is a particularly beautiful example of one the rarest and most desirable forms of barometer of this early period. This is one of only three known examples of this particular carved ebonised style of portable pillar barometer made by Quare. The construction is exactly as one would expect, using solid fruitwood with ivory collets, a combination that seems to have been unique to Quare’s workshop. Quare’s great rival in the production of portable pillar barometers was his contemporary, John Patrick, who assisted the Wardens of the Clockmakers Company in resisting Quare’s patent application for a ‘portable weatherglass’. Despite objections Quare was granted his patent on 2nd August 1695, although the Company then offered to defend any freeman who might get into trouble as a result of making or selling such ‘portable weatherglasses’.

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