BELLIN, Jacques-Nicolas (1703-1772). Carte Reduite De L'Ocean Oriental ou Mer Des Indes Seconde Edition Pour Servir aux Vaisseau du Roy . . . Par order de M. De. Machault. paris: Bellin, 1757.
Single sheet (25 x 35 4/8 inches, full margins showing the plate mark; 21 4/8 x 33 6/8 inches to the neat line). A very fine example of Bellin's map of the Indian Ocean, showing Africa, Borneo, Sumatra and Jave, the Arabian Peninsula and the Western coast of Australia, the title within a detailed and elaborate cartouche upper left, decorated with rhumb lines. AN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE COPY.
This is the second edition of Bellin's map, significantly revised from the first edition of 1740:
Decorative cartouche added
The chart extends a bit further to the east and west, encompassing the Philippines and some of the west coast of South Africa.
The East Coast of Africa is significantly refined.
The shape of Madagascar has been significantly altered.
The shape of the Gujarat Peninsula is greatly improved.
The mouth of the Ganges River and Bay of Bengal is significantly revised
The Malaysian Peninsula is much narrower and the coastline reworked
Significant revisions are shown in Australia and far greater coverage.
Western Australia is shown, with seven place names, including "Baye des Chiens marins vue par Dampier en 1691" and "Coste veue par Mr. Duquesne en 1687".
The first edition fills in the gaps deliberately left in Isaac de Graaf's charts of the Indian Ocean given to the navigators of the VOC, clearly letting the Dutch know that the French had all the same information, and were after their territory. This second edition goes one step further and improves significantly on the Dutch cartography as expressed in the published Dutch charts of Goos and van Keulen. The Dutch had dominated the trading route between the Cape of Good Hope and Java throughout the 17th-century before the French made successful inroads in the second quarter of the 18th-century.
Bellin was born in Paris in 1703 and was appointed chief cartographer and hydrographer to the French Navy in 1721. He was appointed "ingénier hydrographe" to the French navy's Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine in August 1741. Bellin was also a member of the Académie de Marine and of the Royal Society of London. During his 50-year career, Bellin published a number of important atlases, including "Hydrographie française" (1753), "Carte de l'Amerique septentrionale" (1755), "Petit Atlas Maritime" (1764), and "Nouvelle méthode pour apprendre la géographie" (1769).