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).
Plan de la Ville de Buenos-Ayres.
This city blocks plan (10 13/16" X 7") was probably prepared
originally for the "Histoire générale des voyages".
The present item seems to have been printed for a 1757 edition
of this encyclopedic work.
The same map was also used by Bellin (with a different cartouche)
in the 1756 Charlevoix's "Histoire du Paraguay".
It describes the original layout of the town around its central
square: the present days Plaza de Mayo on which one finds
the City Hall, the presidential palace (Casa Rosada), and
the Metropolitan Cathedral.
No text on verso.