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1741 Bellin Map of Pondicherry, India

Plan de Pondicheri en 1741. - Main View

1741 Bellin Map of Pondicherry, India



Plan de Pondicheri en 1741.
  1741 (dated)     8 x 6.25 in (20.32 x 15.875 cm)


This beautifully hand colored map of Pondicherry (now 'Puducherry'), India was drawn by Nicholas Bellin and dates to the 1750s. The site of Pondicherry had been a trading post for at least 1600 years, as evidenced by 1st Century AD Roman goods unearthed during archaeological excavations in the 1940s. The town would pass from Dutch to French hands in 1699, and in the latter half of the 1700s pass between the warring French and British, coming firmly back under French rule only in 1814. The French influence can still be seen on signs and buildings and heard as accented Tamil to this day.

Drawn by Jacques Nicolas Bellin and published as plate no. 7 in volume 9 of the 1752 French edition of Abbe Provost's L'Histoire Generale des Voyages.


Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703 - March 21, 1772) was one of the most important cartographers of the 18th century. With a career spanning some 50 years, Bellin is best understood as geographe de cabinet and transitional mapmaker spanning the gap between 18th and early-19th century cartographic styles. His long career as Hydrographer and Ingénieur Hydrographe at the French Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine resulted in hundreds of high quality nautical charts of practically everywhere in the world. A true child of the Enlightenment Era, Bellin's work focuses on function and accuracy tending in the process to be less decorative than the earlier 17th and 18th century cartographic work. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bellin was always careful to cite his references and his scholarly corpus consists of over 1400 articles on geography prepared for Diderot's Encyclopedie. Bellin, despite his extraordinary success, may not have enjoyed his work, which is described as "long, unpleasant, and hard." In addition to numerous maps and charts published during his lifetime, many of Bellin's maps were updated (or not) and published posthumously. He was succeeded as Ingénieur Hydrographe by his student, also a prolific and influential cartographer, Rigobert Bonne. More by this mapmaker...


Provost, A., L`Histoire Generale des Voyages, Vol. IX, plate 7.    


Very good. Original fold lines. Blank on verso.