The MB&F M.A.D.Gallery presents 25 rare and beautiful 19th century surveying instruments collected by Italian architect Bruno Gritti
In the 18th and 19th centuries, surveyors were important people, responsible for tracing the lines needed to map cities, dig canals, build roads and lay down railway lines in a rapidly industrialising world.
Their most precious possessions were their surveying instruments like theodolites, tacheometers and levels. These instruments weren’t just highly accurate measuring tools, they were artfully crafted too: Gleaming brass, bronze or steel, sometimes complemented by the rich brown hue of wooden tripods or carrying cases.
Mr Gritti has dedicated the last 50 years of his life to meticulously researching and collecting these historical treasures, ambassadors to the age of exploration and empire-building. And luckily for us, he has chosen the M.A.D.Gallery to fulfil his wish of passing the baton onto kindred spirits with a fascination for history and an appreciation of fine mechanical craftsmanship.
“The moment when you discover a new tool is indescribable”
Mr Gritti says of his carefully curated collection: “For me, the tools that feature in my collection are not just an expression of precision mechanics and applied optics, but they are also objets d’art representing a specific period of history.
“The moment when you discover a new tool is indescribable,” says the Italian. “Only a collector can understand the inner satisfaction that you feel at this early stage. It goes far beyond mere physical possession.”
Rarity and aesthetics were the two criteria Mr Gritti used to select pieces. Over the best part of 50 years, his collection grew not just in quality and quantity but also in value, as these instruments became coveted collectors’ pieces.
Bruno Gritti is a native of Bergamo, Italy where he continues to live. Now 75 years old, Bruno still works as an architect and currently specialises in the design and construction of health and social services centres. Besides his passion for surveying instruments, Mr Gritti is also a seasoned watch collector.