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 early access to prime public cartographic data, which he used often for his own private business ventures.
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 information 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”).
Carta rappresentante l'Isola della Giammaica.
This is an uncommon Italian (and much reduced) version of Bellin's 1758 very large map "Carte de l'Isle de la Jamaique" . A similar French text reduction appeared in "Petit Atlas Maritime" in 1764.
This example was published in 1763 in Livorno by Marco Cortellini for his " Il Gazzettiere Americano". The publisher was banking on the market acceptance of "L'histoire Générale des Voyages" to rush the production of a reduced Italian remake. So much so, that quite a few of the maps were actually nothing more than re-engravings of original maps, with Italian titles and text.
It is a rather small (12 5/16” X 7 15/16” ) but very detailed map that describes this island with its interior divided into named parishes.
Note that the Italian engraver for unknown reason dropped the name of one northern parish: St Mary (in present days area of Ocho Rios).
It shows remarkable detail with scores of place names along the coast as well as mountains, roads, watershed and other details in the interior. At lower left is a decorative rococo-style title cartouche with compass rose and rhumb lines above.
No text on verso.