Jacques Nicolas Bellin; 1703-1772.
A first rank cartographer, Bellin worked for some fifty
years at the French hydrographic service (Dépôt de la Marine);
which he ran till his death.
In this position he had unequal access to prime cartographic
data, often used to further his own private business interests.
He was succeeded at the head of the service by the very talented,
and no less prolific, Rigobert Bonne.
His career was mainly devoted to charting and mapping coast
lines, harbors, sea lanes. Most of his publications were related
to nautical matters: maps for "Histoire générale des Voyages"*
between 1747 and his death, "Atlas Maritime" in 1751, "Neptune
François" in 1753, "Petit Atlas Maritime" in 1764,. for the
benefit of the French Navy, merchantmen, and the public at
He is known to have used informations from the best fellow
cartographers of his time, to complement the in-land parts
of his maps, notably: Guillaume de l'Isle and Jean-Baptiste
Bourguignon d'Anville, often giving them credit. Fame, enormous
output and fastidious quality of work, earned him the appointment
of "hydrographer to the king" by Louis XV of France. He was
also a member of the Royal Society in London.
*A major work published by Antoine François Prévost d'Exile.
The first edition in 1747 was already of an encyclopedic size.
A major remodeling was done in the mid fifties, incorporating
some two hundred new maps (quite a few drawn by Bellin). Later
editions, till 1789, incorporated verbatim other authors travel
writings (e.g.: Gmelin's "Voyage au Kamchatka par la Sibérie"
was incorporated in volume 25 in 1779).
Plan de la Ville de Paita, dans le royaume de Santa
Plan van de Stad Paita in het Koninkryk Santa Fee.
This minimalist city blocks plan (14 3/8" X 8") by Bellin
was prepared for Prevost's "Histoire.".
It is directly derived form a map hand drawn by Admiral George
Anson, which appeared in the 1748 Richard Walter's "A voyage
round the world".
The present item was prepared in 1754 by engraver Jacob van
der Schley for a dutch edition of the "Histoire générale des
It shows the little settlement of Paita (in present days Peru)
which had been established by the Jesuit fathers to export
the ground bark of Chichona trees (then the only known source
At the end of the war of Jenkin's ear in 1741, Anson landed
at Paita and sacked the town (see the dotted line showing
the English attackers progress toward the fort). Also note
the road leading to the provincial capital of Piura.
No text on verso.