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 unparalleled 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 large.
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 Delisle 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 du port et de la ville de la Havanne.
This seldom seen or mentioned large city plan (20 3/4" X 16 1/16") was published separately and in a later edition of "Hydrographie Française", it is a very faithful copy of the very scarce 1798 "Plano del puerto y de la ciudad de la Havana" by Frigate captain Jose desl Rio. A Spanish policy of secrecy insured that only a handful of edited maps of the colonies and their strongholds was ever released before 1770. The Dépôt seized on the occasion to update its own collection of detailed military and topographic documentation.
Notice the expansion of the town outside of its wallsprincipally on its west but also across the bay around the old convent of La Regla. Notice also the massive fortification of La Cabana.
On the left upper side a list of 38 remarkable places of interest.
No text on verso.