An early 18th century by the French mathematician Nicolas Bion (1652-1733) brass hexagonal shape. Inscription on hour scale: “N BION А PARIS”. N. Bion was mathematical instruments to Louis XIV and Louis XV, of France.
Folding sectoral gnomon with latitude selection scale and bird-shape pointer is mounted on the base of compass box. Four hour scales for different latitudes: V-ХII with points in 1/4 hour (40°), 4-12-8 – in 1/2 hour (52°). Latitude selection scale 40°-60° with points in 1° and numbering in 10. The dial is also mounted with a glazed compass, with pointer moveable against a ±30 scale of magnetic deviation from North. The sundial can be used over a number of different latitudes of notable European cities, engraved on the reverse. Measurements 7,5 x 6,5 cm.
Bion’s workshop was located within the historic Quai de l’Horloge, Palais de Justice, Paris. He worked by royal appointment as a maker of mathematical instruments to Louis XIV and Louis XV, of France.
Look for shop information www.vanleestantiques.com
Ask the Dealer
Van Leest Antiques
Van Leest Antiques, based in Utrecht in the Netherlands, specialises in antique scientific and medical instruments. Their collection covers mainly scientific and medical antique instruments: barometers, globes and planataria, nautical instruments, anatomical models, and pharmacy items. Toon Van Leest travels regularly in Europe and visits trade fairs, auctions, and antique dealers to collect stock and to find pieces to fulfil his clients' unusual requests.
As well as being an avid antique collector and dealer, Toon Van Leest is also a dentist. He believes that antiques are a stable investment, not reliant on trends or fashion, and have truly lasting value. Above all, he says, antiques are timeless and never lose their beauty.