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Nicolas Bailleul was the son of Gaspar Bailleul, the famous Paris geographer and engraver. The youngest of three sons, he entered the engraving profession along with his brothers; the family specialized in the engraving of letters and inscriptions. He first worked in Paris, where he assisted his brother Francois in the engraving of a plan of Paris (1744). He then appears to have moved to Lyon where he is known to have produced maps of Savoy (1747), Languedoc (1753), and Europe (1778).