1756 Bellin Map of Boston, Massachusetts

Plan de la Ville de Boston et ses Environs. - Main View

1756 Bellin Map of Boston, Massachusetts


Early 18th century map or plan of Boston, Massachusetts.


Plan de la Ville de Boston et ses Environs.
  1756 (undated)     6.75 x 10.75 in (17.145 x 27.305 cm)     1 : 45000


This is a striking 1757 Jacques-Nicolas Bellin map of Boston, Massachusetts. Coverage embraces the Shawmut Peninsula of Boston with nearby Charestown across the harbor. The isle ronde is situated along the right side with a windmill (moulin) labeled. An artillery battery protects the road into Charles Town. Sixteen locations around Boston are marked alphabetically and correspond with an index to the left. Among the locations notes are churches, three artillery batteries, and the powder magazine. Just three depth soundings are noted in Boston Harbor.
Publication History and Census
This map was published as plate no. 10 in volume XIV of Abbé Prévost's Histoire Générale des Voyages…. Bellin would later issue a very similar version of this map in his 1764 Petit Atlas Maritime. We note two cataloged examples of the 1757 edition of this map: Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library and Boston Athenaeum. Appears occasionally on the market.


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...

Antoine François Prévost d'Exiles (April 1, 1697 – November 25, 1763), usually known the Abbé Prévost, was a French author and novelist. Having had difficulty in his youth determining a preference for life in the military or life among the Jesuits, he eventually wound up with the Benedictines, with whom he took vows. Despite his taking the vows, the vows evidently did not take with him: in 1728 he abandoned his abbey and fled to London. Naturally, he became a writer. In this he was prolific, both producing his own work and translations of others. Beginning in 1726, he published the first volume of his Histoire générale des voyages, which he worked on for the remained of his life and which was completed by his associates after his death, stretching to 25 volumes. Learn More...


Provost, A., L'Histoire Générale des Voyages, Vol XIV, plate 10. Also issued in Bellin, J. N., Le Petit Atlas Maritime. Recueil de cartes et plans des quatre parties du monde.    


Very good.


Boston Public Library, Leventhal Map Center, G3764.B6 1757 .P5. OCLC 86086153.