The Falkirk barometer-maker John Russell (circa 1745-1817) was a successful Scottish instrument-maker who earned his appointments and fame through giving barometers to King George III and the Prince of Wales. He became 'by his ingenuity and industry' one of the best-known clock and watchmakers of his day, and such was the quality of his work that he was appointed Watchmaker to the Prince of Wales, later George IV, the title changing to 'Watchmaker to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent' on the establishment of the Regency in 1811. We can therefore date the present barometer between 1811 and Russell's death in 1817. Russell is best known for his wheel barometers, especially for his so-called 'royal' barometers. His 'royal' barometers such as this one follow closely the same pattern as the two that now hang at Buckingham Palace (illustrated in N. Goodison, English Barometers 1680-1860, Woodbridge, 1977, figs. 159-162).
Another 'royal' barometer, dated before 1811, and by tradition from Hampton Court Palace, was sold by a descendant of J.S. Sykes, in these Rooms, 16 November 1995, lot 310 (£29,900). It was previously in the collection of Percival D. Griffiths.