Two large folio volumes ; contemporary red morocco with the coat of arms of Louis XV. Bellin indicates in his Warning to have divided and classified his Hydrography according to the oceans (arranged and divided in part of the fluid spaces of the Globe): the Northern Ocean includes 15 maps, the Western Ocean 75 maps, the Southern Ocean 5 maps, the Eastern Ocean 13 maps and finally the Pacific Ocean 2 maps.
Volume I. Frontispiece, title, table of the charts contained in the 2 volumes, table of flags, 59 charts, 6 of which are marked "a" and one not mentioned in the table. Volume II. Title, table of maps, 56 maps of which 4 marked "a" to "e" and 5 numbered "a" to "e". Maps 4 and 5 of volume 1 and 4bis and 5bis of volume 2 are identical. Map 4bis is dated 1784; the table is dated 1755. Map 76 evenly brown. Foxing.
An official publication of the French Ministry of the Navy, far preceding the one drawn up by the British Navy, this superb maritime atlas is composed of 115 large maps covering the coasts of the five continents in a superb binding of louis XV. In 1681, Colbert, Louis XIV's Minister of Finance, inspired by the Casa de Contratacion in Seville, requested by order to recover the sea reports, maps and logbooks. From 1699 onwards, these were stored in the Convent of the Little Fathers in Paris. In 1720, the regent gave the management of this fund to the naval officer Charles Hercule Albert de Luynes; thus the Depot of Navy Maps and Plans was born. De Luynes was assisted in his task by a single clerk: Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772), then aged 18. The latter archived, copied, inventoried, kept registers and diversified the missions of the Depot: from a simple place of conservation, it also became a place of production, with Bellin entrusting the navigators with maps which they were responsible for correcting and enriching in order to update the knowledge of the time. He created a "Navy Depot" stamp to protect the collections, and in 1737 the Depot published its first map, a map of the Mediterranean. In 1773, the Depot obtained a monopoly on the production of nautical charts, followed in 1775 by the exclusive privilege to engrave and print the charts in order to control their production.
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin was a true cabinet hydrographer. Appointed the first engineer-geographer of the Navy in 1741, he published several nautical charts and atlases on his behalf, including Le Petit Atlas maritime (with 594 maps and plans), and nearly a thousand articles in Diderot and d'Alembert's Encyclopaedia. The Dépôt de la Marine engraved about a hundred maps until his death in 1772. OHR 2495, iron 27
Hydrographie françoise. Recueil des cartes marines générales et particulières dressées au Dépôt des Cartes, Plans et Journaux, par ordre des Ministres de la Marine M. Bellin, Ingénieur-Hydrographe du Dépôt & autres
Dépôt des Cartes et Plans, 1737-1788