Justin Vulliamy (1712-1797)
1768 - 1769
Tulipwood, softwood, oak, lime, ebonised hardwood, brass, iron, mercury and glass
1300 x 420 x 120 mm
Place of origin
EnglandOrder this image
Nostell Priory, West Yorkshire (Accredited Museum)
On show at
This barometer at Nostell Priory brings together the skills of two of the greatest craftsmen working in London during the mid-18th century, the Swiss emigré clockmaker Justin Vulliamy and the English cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale. Not only is it one of the finest barometers of its kind but it is one of the best documented. Work on the case began in June 1768; in October, Chippendale wrote to Nostell's owner, Sir Rowland Winn, apologising profusely for the barometer’s late completion. ‘I am Extreamly sorry that you are so Much displeased about the Barometer frame…I left ye frame till I returned from france and I expected that it was nigh finished but to my great surprise there was nothing don to it’. Sir Rowland would have to wait another year the barometer was completed. Vulliamy, who is referred to in the Chippendale’s correspondence to Winn, worked in Pall Mall and became the partner of Benjamin Gray, watchmaker in ordinary to George II. The partnership was further enhanced when Vulliamy married Gray’s daughter and on his father-in-law’s death, he succeeded him as royal clockmaker. The horological talents of the Vulliamy family established them as one of the greatest London clockmakers, with Justin’s son and grandson following in his footsteps. They served an impressive tally of five monarchs between them, from George II through to Queen Victoria. The Vulliamy name is part of a longer tradition, dating to the late 17th century, that saw England lead the world in the making of barometers and clocks.
George III tulipwood barometer, case by Thomas Chippendale, and movement by Justin Vulliamy (1712-1797), the stepped top with giltwood anthemion cresting enclosing a hygrometer, the centre with silvered chapter ring, matted centre and pierced spandrels framed by parcel-gilt Bacchic herms, and a base with thermometer framed by ebony columns and with gilt-wood pendant beaded shell framed by ox heads and husk swags.
Makers and roles
Justin Vulliamy (1712-1797), cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale (Otley 1718 - London 1779) , cabinet maker