The rectangular panel painted in trompe l'oeil and depicting the allegories of the four seasons flanking a sheath surmounted by a globe flanked by two putti, the dial of the enamelled barometer signed Sormany Palais Egalité, the thermometer inscribed in the sheath signed Sormany Palais / Egalité No. 260, signed SAUVAGE in the plinth of the sheath, inscribed on the reverse PANEAUX. P.DE. 3 PES 4 PO ON 2PES 3PO MALAINE RUE FABG MARTIN N.19 / A PARIS; the frame decorated with stars and stylized palmettes, This very interesting barometer-thermometer is a work of collaboration between Piat-Joseph Sauvage, painter and Sormany, optician.
Piat-Joseph Sauvage born in Tournai in Belgium, at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, he made a specialty of trompe-l'oeil paintings such as we see here. Painter and decorator, he participated in the ornamentation of royal residences at the end of the reign of Louis XVI such as Compiègne and Fontainebleau and the small hamlet of Marie Antoinette in Versailles, before turning to painting on porcelain and marble, working for the manufacture of Dihl and Guérhard then for that of Sèvres under the Empire, including the secretary and the pedestal table decorated with porcelain plaques, furniture acquired in Paris between 1805 and 1807 by Marie-Louise of Spain, and found in Madrid, Palacio de Oriente, are an example.
His compositions often represent friezes of putti, bacchanalia, mythological or allegorical scenes. The iconography of the Seasons developed here naturally refers to the function of this object, barometer and thermometer.
Sormany, optician is therefore an optician by profession, installed in the “galerie de bois” of the Royal Palace (Palais Egalité under the Revolution and the Empire), as indicated by the inscriptions on the barometer and the thermometer. The old labels of this Sormany make it possible to describe its activity a little better: “Palais Égalité n° 260 galerie de bois. / N° 260 Sormany optician successor to Catanyo sells all kinds of glasses (show and others) and everything related to optics, mathematical physics and other curiosities, barometers, thermometers and liquor weighers. / All at a fair price in Paris”. He seems particularly recognized for his research on thermometers.