The above map of Panama is inserted to counter any vertigo caused by the rotations of the Beautiful Port, many maps of which may seem inverted to a landman. Seasoned sailors, however, have known since prehistory that the world is round. There is no reason for North to point up.


probably used for

Porto Bello
Perspective View

attributed to Scott

Bellin 1764

Bellin c 1750

This map by Bellin, 1764, above, of the Baye de Porto Bello has been first rotated 45° to match the orientation favoured by earlier publishers and familiarised by Durell's sketch. Here at left it is oriented as published, with North pointing towards the bottom right-hand corner. It appears to derive directly from the two maps published in 1736 and 1748, shown here. The perspective view below might be thought to be based on the Durell, 1740, or any similar map, were it not for the coastline shown at left of the painting.

The coastline is a very close match with the lower Bellin map, left. This was published first apparently in about 1750, and then again, together with the larger map, in 1764, and once more in 1768. The two Bellin maps do not agree particularly well. In the smaller map the bay extends into a Groote Meir, or Grand Lac, absent from the larger map, where its existence is not even hinted at.

In 1982 Richard Kingzett was probably not aware of this map, for he says that Durell's plan "supplied the layout for the picture, in which Scott seems to have painted the ships only .... super-imposing them on a bird's-eye view of the location by another hand." But this person, in my view, has not based his layout on Durell's plan: his painting appears to be an attempted reconciliation of the two Bellin maps. The result is a compromise.

Bellin 1764

Because the 1764 Bellin map extends the coastline further to the NE than the two related maps flanking it below, I would pick it as the direct source for the collaborative Scott painting. This means the painting was produced in 1764/5, not in 1740, as assumed by Kingzett. It would coincide neatly with Scott's last months at Twickenham, before his move to Ludlow; and would have been commissioned by the Vernon family, after the Admiral's death in 1757.

Scott and his Paintings
Other Image Sources
Louisbourg Map Sources     Porto Bello: Durell/Monamy
Alicante     Barcelona     Dunkirk     Gibraltar    Louisbourg     Porto Bello
Constantinople     Greenwich
monamy website index

void of slavish fears


© Charles Harrison Wallace 2003, 2013
all rights reserved