The Sea of Marmara and Dardanelle Straits
Finely colored example of J.N. Bellin's map of the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelle Straits, published in L'Hydrographie Francoise Recueil des Cartes Generales et Particulieres qui ont ete Faites pour le Service des Vaisseaux du Roy. Par ordre des Ministres de la Marine depuis 1737. jusqu'en 1765.
The map illustrates not only coastal features (soundings, anchorages, channels, etc.), but also gives a detailed accounting of the topographical features along the coastline and occasionally further into the interior.
The map extends in scope from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772) was among the most important mapmakers of the eighteenth century. In 1721, at only the age of 18, he was appointed Hydrographer to the French Navy. In August 1741, he became the first Ingénieur de la Marine of the Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine (the French Hydrographic Office) and was named Official Hydrographer of the French King.
During his term as Official Hydrographer, the Dépôt was the one of the most active centers for the production of sea charts and maps in Europe. Their output included a folio-format sea atlas of France, the Neptune Francois. He also produced a number of sea atlases of the world, including the Atlas Maritime and the Hydrographie Francaise. These gained fame and distinction all over Europe and were republished throughout the eighteenth and even in the nineteenth century.
Bellin also produced smaller format maps such as the 1764 Petit Atlas Maritime, containing 580 finely-detailed charts. He also contributed a number of maps for the 15-volume Histoire Generale des Voyages of Antoine François Prévost.
Bellin set a very high standard of workmanship and accuracy, cementing France's leading role in European cartography and geography during this period. Many of his maps were copied by other mapmakers across the continent.