Catalog Archive
Auction 191, Lot 108

"Carte Reduite de l'Ocean Septentrional Compris Entre l'Asie et l'Amerique Suivant les Decouvertes qui ont ete Faites par les Russes...", Bellin, Jacques Nicolas

Subject: Western North America & North Pacific Ocean

Period: 1766 (dated)

Publication: Hydrographie Francoise

Color: Black & White

33.4 x 21.9 inches
84.8 x 55.6 cm
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This captivating large-scale chart depicts the North Pacific Ocean from Japan and Russia to North America. Although the focus of the map is the discoveries of Captains Bering and Chirikof around Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, the map includes extensive information in North America, extending to Baffin Bay, Hudson Bay, and Lake Erie in the east and to Point Conception, California, and Fort Assumption along the Mississippi River (in present-day Tennessee) in the south. There are numerous notes of discoveries throughout the map, including a notation west of the Hudson Bay explaining that despite English reports of Admiral de Fuente's explorations, his discoveries could not pass "critical examination" and that the author had always regarded them as "fantastical."

The cartography of the lake and river systems in North America is fascinating. Bellin omits the Sea of the West that appeared on his 1755 map of Canada and the U.S., but includes a dotted line denoting the River of the West connecting to several rivers and lakes before reaching Hudson Bay. Just to the south is another dotted-line river extending east, but trailing off before connecting with the Missouri River. The Mississippi River connects to Lac Rouge and also reaches Hudson Bay through several rivers and lakes, creating a water route to the Gulf of Mexico.

The tracks and discoveries of Captains Bering and Chirikof are depicted, with Alaska shown in a similar "turtle shape" as seen on earlier maps by German professor Gerhard Friedrich Muller. The Gulf of Alaska is here named Mer de l'Ouest du Canada, one of the few maps to use this term. In Asia, Siberia is fairly well defined based on charts by Russian navigators, while Japan is presented in a rudimentary shape with Hokkaido entirely missing.

This is the third state with "No. 99" at top and "Prix. Cinquante Sols" below the bottom border. A scarce and fascinating addition to any collection of the Pacific Northwest.

References: Kershaw #1127; Wagner #610; Tooley (MCC-96) #771; Falk #1766-1; McGuirk #133.

Condition: B+

On a bright sheet of watermarked paper with a hint of toning, a few minor spots, and a faint dampstain extending into the top right corner of the image. There is a short repaired edge tear confined to the bottom blank margin and some minor creasing in the top and bottom margins.

Estimate: $900 - $1,100

Sold for: $1,500

Closed on 2/8/2023