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
* 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).
L'Isle Formose et partie des costes de la Chine...
This small map (11 1/16' X 9 1/16') was prepared for the
1747 "Histoire generale des voyages".
The present item has been printed for the rare 1749 dutch
In this second state, the rococo style cartouche is very ornate
(while the first state bears a bland box), the content of
the cartouche is translated in dutch under the bottom neat
line, and most of the place names are designated both in french
A third state was later developed for the 1765 "Hydrographie
On the west coast the dutch fort "Zelandia", and on the north
tip the Spanish fort "Kelang" are both described as in ruins.
Notice how the west coast in covered with little settlements,
while the inland and the east coast are both shown as "little
known". The chinese mainland coast also seems heavily populated.
Longitudes are given east of the westernmost Canary island
No text on verso.