Very attractive Ptolemaic armillary sphere by King’s engineer for mathematical instruments Nicolas Bion.
Very attractive Ptolemaic armillary sphere made of wood, cardboard and paper printed and contemporary hand-coloured, signed Nicolas Bion on the meridian circle, with the Earth at the centre of the Universe and two printed cardboard circles representing the Sun and the Moon fixed on two metallic arcs which pivot around. The terrestrial globe of the armillary sphere is covered with 12 gores and is signed in a cartouche “A Paris chez P. Charpentier”.
Total diameter 26.5 cm - Height 38 cm
Nicolas Bion (1652-1733) was a French engineer, merchant, scientific instrument maker, and globe maker who had his workshop on the Quai de l’Horloge in Paris. He authored several influential works, including «Usage des globes célestes et terrestres, et des sphères...» which was published in 1699, and «Traité de la construction et principaux usages des instruments de mathématique» in 1709. Both of these works were reprinted and translated numerous times.
Bion was a prominent figure in Paris instrument-making from around 1690 until his death, and is considered the most famous French builder of scientific instruments of his time. He was awarded the title of «King’s engineer for mathematical instruments» at the court of Louis XIV. His instruments were highly sought after in the near East, thanks to the exchanges between France and the Ottoman Empire. He passed away in his workshop in 1733, and his son, Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Bion, took over the workshop and also became the king’s engineer.
Nicolas Bion (1652-1733) was a French engineer and cosmographer, builder of mathematical instruments.
Bion was always interested in the creation of instruments and their mechanisms, his creativity allowed him to become an engineer at the court of Louis XIV for mathematical instruments. His creations were accompanied by treatises explaining their functioning. Nicolas Bion had his workshop on the Quai de l'horloge (Île de la cité) where interested people could buy his instruments. He died in his workshop in 1733 and it was his son, Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Bion, who took charge of the workshop and also became the king's engineer.
His instruments are very popular in the near East thanks to the exchanges between France and the Ottoman Empire.