A rare sea chart, including a map of Manila Bay, Philippines, accompanied by a chart and view of Côn Son Island, Vietnam, which appeared in the rare first edition of Mannetvillettes's Le Neptune Oriental, published in 1745.
The chart is one of the earliest obtainable detail charts of Manilla Bay.
The chart of Manila Bay, that occupies the upper half of the composition, is orientated with an eastward perspective, and embraces the entire coastal area from Cavite to the city of Manila and as far north as Subic Bay. It is based on the most progressive sources available to the French Navy, and the overall depiction of somewhat similar to that featured on the Jacques Nicolas Bellin's contemporary charts. European interest in Manila Bay, and the Philippines in general, was heightened upon hearing news of British Admiral George Anson's capture of a Spanish Manila Galleon off of Cabo Espiritu Santo in 1743.
Below, the composition features an attractive view and map of the Isle de Condor (Côn Son Island). Strategically located off the southern tip of Vietnam, this safe anchorage had long been favored as a hideaway by pirates, and more recently as a victualing point by European traders. In 1702, the English East India Company built a short-lived fort on the islands, designated on the current map as "Fort Anglois ruiné". The French also harbored designs on the island, and in 1787, Côn Son was ceded to France by Vietnam.
The present chart was drafted by Jean-Batiste de Mannevillette (1707-80), and engraveded on copper by the master engraver Guillaume Dheulland. Mannevillette apprenticed under the great royal cartographer Guillaume De L'Isle. He then joined the maritime service of the Compagnie des Indes, eventually attaining the rank of captain. Upon his return to Paris, Mannevillette was appointed as director of the Dépôt des Cartes et Plans de la Navigation des Indes. In 1745, he published the first edition of his sea atlas of Asian waters, Le Neptune Oriental. While not included in the atlas, it seems that the production of the present chart was closely associated with this project. The high quality of Mannevillette's charts won him the acclaim of both mariners and academics alike, and he was admitted as a fellow of the Academy of Sciences. He published a second, heavily revised, edition of the Neptune Oriental in 1775.
Jean-Baptiste-Nicolas-Denis d'Après de Mannevillette (1707–1780) was a French sailor and hydrographer.
D'Après de Mannevillette was a captain for the Compagnie des Indes, and in this position, he charted the coasts of the East Indies and China. He published the Neptune Oriental for the first time in 1745. It was a major cartographical achievement and a practical resource for navigators sailing to the Indian Ocean and Asia. The 1775 edition encompassed the majority of the known world.
D'Après de Mannevillette's access to up-to-date sources of information – such as explorer´s narratives - and his eagerness to constantly update the cartography of his maps, enabled him to produce some of the most accurate charts of the 18th century.