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Thermometer

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750-60 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bourbon, Lange de (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Veneered in tulipwood, kingwood, holly and purpleheart, on a carcase of unidentified wood. The tube of thermometer in glass, flanked by white enamel plaques marked in black enamel.

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:

    1096-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

During the 18th century scientific enquiry into the natural world was seen as an essential part of the education of a gentleman. Thermometers and barometers offered elegant evidence of the owner's intellectual interests. This thermometer is paired with a matching barometer (Museum no. 1097-1882) and both are finely veneered in tulipwood and kingwood to take their place beside the finest furniture of a study or of the small personal rooms known as cabinets in France.

The pair of instruments was acquired by John Jones, a British military tailor, in the 19th century. He was one of the best-known collectors of French 18th-century decorative arts and in 1882 he bequeathed his collection to the South Kensington Museum, the forerunner of the V&A.

Physical description

The thermometer is mounted on a tall, narrow back panel, veneered in tulipwood and kingwood, with fillets of holly and purpleheart under the glass tube. The edges of the panel are framed with gilt-bronze mouldings. The top is a shallow arch and the gilt-bronze mounts show small foliage mounts at the corners and in the centre of the top and the bottom. In the middle of the panel, the tube is flanked with white enamel plaques, painted in black with the scales and the different types of weather, and with the maker's name.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)

Date

ca. 1750-60 (made)

Artist/maker

Bourbon, Lange de (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Veneered in tulipwood, kingwood, holly and purpleheart, on a carcase of unidentified wood. The tube of thermometer in glass, flanked by white enamel plaques marked in black enamel.

Marks and inscriptions

CHAUD/POULE
CHAUD/1752[last digit upside-down]
25/25
20/20
15/15
TEM/PE[grave accent]RE
5/5
GLA
5/5
FROID/1740
FROID/1712
FROID/1709
LANGE DE/BOURBON
These inscriptions run across the two vertical white enamel plaques on either side of the glass tube and are all in black enamel. The split is indicated by the forward slash.

Dimensions

Height: 95 cm, Width: 17 cm

Object history note

Acquired by John Jones before 1882

Descriptive line

A thermometer mounted on a tall, narrow panel veneered in tulipwood and kingwood, the edges mounted with gilt-bronze, the face set with white enamel plaques inscribed in black, the inscriptions including the maker's name.

Labels and date

[Label text by Peter Thornton]
Barometer and Thermometer
French (Paris); mid-18th century
Both inscribed "Lange de Bourbon"
Veneered with kingwood and other woods. Gilt bronze mounts. Enamel plaques

Jones Collection
Museum No. 1096 and 1097-1882 [ca. 1980]

Materials

Wood; Tulipwood; Kingwood; Holly; Purpleheart; Gilt bronze; Enamel; Glass

Techniques

Veneered; Cast; Chased; Gilded; Glass-blowing; Enamelled

Categories

Furniture; Science

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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