Re-Stating Bellin’s Carte de la Caroline et Georgie

This post provides an updated cartobibliography for a Bellin map, Carte de la Caroline et Georgie, first published in 1757. William P. Cumming described two states of one plate (Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, #311).  Ashley Baynton-Williams lists one state each for two plates in his Carolina checklist (MapForum #95, #96). Both deserve partial credit. There are, in fact, maps from two separate plates, with one state of Plate 1, and two states of Plate 2.

Bellin map - Carte de la Caroline et Georgie

1757-Bellin-Plate 1

Bellin map - Carte de la Caroline et Georgie

1757-Bellin-Plate2 (second state)


The two plates are nearly identical, but they exhibit extremely subtle differences in the decorative title cartouche and in the topography, such as very minor inconsistencies in the courses of rivers. The most obvious difference between the two plates is the engraving style for the mountains, as shown below.

Bellin map - Carte de la Caroline et Georgie

Plate 1 Image from Old World Auctions

Bellin map - Carte de la Caroline et Georgie

Plate 2 Image from Library of Congress


Subtle differences in number and spacing of lines in the shaded sections of the latitude and longitude scales is another point of distinction.

Plate 1 and the first state of Plate 2 have been confirmed in separate copies of the 1757 edition of Histoire Générale des Voïages, ou Nouvelle Collection de toutes les relations de voïages..., attributed to Antoine François Prévost (author’s name not included on title page). The 2nd state of Plate 2 has been sighted in a 1780 edition of Abrégé de l’Histoire Générale des Voyages… Par M. De La Harpe, de l’Académie Française.  De La Harpe’s Abrégé was re-issued several times into the early 19th century. In some of the later issues, the maps were all bound together in an atlas rather than in the individual volumes. I have not been able to confirm which plate/state of the Carte de la Caroline et Georgie map was used for those later editions, though presumably it should be 2nd state of Plate 2.

What was the basis for two plates? A definitive answer is not available, but the logical assumption would be that Plate 1 was short-lived due to accidental loss or irreparable damage, thus necessitating a nearly identical Plate 2. The latter survived long enough to undergo revisions, resulting in two states of Plate 2. If that is the case, one would expect to find an engraving style similar to Plate 1 for other maps in Prévost’s 1757 Histoire, and perhaps even in the later works (assuming all of Bellin’s plates weren’t lost or irreparably damaged very early in the publication history). I’m not certain that is the case and a detailed analysis would be most welcome. Based on a sampling of images found on line, it would seem that Plate 1 is found in equal or greater abundance than the nearly identical first state of Plate 2. The second state of Plate 2 is likely the most abundant of the three variants.

Here are a few additional cartobibliographic details in case anyone else is afflicted with a hankering for such minutiae. Instructions for binders are provided in imprints below the lower neat line. Those on Plate 1 are identical to those on the first state of Plate 2:

lower left: Tom XIV.
lower right: N°. 11

The imprints below the lower neat line on the second state of Plate 2 are as follows:

lower left: Tom XIV. in 4°. N°. 11
lower right: Tom 14 in 8°. Page 148

The second state of Plate 2 also shows a few minor changes in the title. Generale in the first state is changed to Générale in the second state. A period (.) is added after the word France on the second state. There are no apparent changes to the topography between the two states of Plate 2.

A very similar set of maps was engraved for Atlas portatif pour servir a l’intelligence de l’histoire philosophique et politique des etablissemens et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes, published by E. van Harrevelt and D.J. Changuion, in Amsterdam, 1773. Interestingly, the Virginia and New England maps show mountains very similar in style to Plate 1. Those maps also have highly decorative title cartouches similar to their counterparts in the Prevost and De La Harpe publications. However, compared to Plate 1 and Plate 2, the “Carte de la Caroline et Georgie…” in the Atlas portatif... has a different subtitle, a very simple cartouche, and an Amsterdam engraver’s imprint (Krevelt). There are two states of this map, the second found in a 1773 Amsterdam edition of ‘Histoire Generale Des Voyages (see Baynton-Williams’s PRINTED MAPS OF THE CAROLINAS: 1590 – 1800, numbers 107 & 108). 

There are two other plates of this map with titles in German (ABW number 99) and Italian (ABW number 125). Carta della Carolina e Giogia can be found in one of at least 3 works:
1. Anonymous; Teatro Della Guerra Marittima, Venice, 1781   cf.Cumming, 311.
2. Formaleoni, Vincent; Storia della rivoluzione dell’America inglese. Tradotta dal francese, ed illustrata colle carte del teatro della guerra di M. Bellin. di M. *** americano. Venice,  1782.
3. Formaleoni, Vincent; Compendio della Storia Generale de’Viaggi Opera di M. de La Harpe Accadmico Parigino, Adorna di Carte Geografiche, e Figure Arricchita d’Annotazioni, Tomo XXV, Venice, 1784.

There is also a Russian edition of De La Harpe’s work, complete with Russian-titled maps, including the equivalent of Carte de la Caroline et Georgie. An example is in the Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress.

Comments, questions, and especially corrections are greatly appreciated. Please use the “What’s on your mind?” comment box below. Thanks to Stephen Ferguson for providing a link to an on line example of the first plate in its original volume.

One thought on “Re-Stating Bellin’s Carte de la Caroline et Georgie

  1. Many thanks to Stephen Ferguson from the Rare Books and Special Collections-Princeton University Library for providing the following link:;view=1up;seq=642
    This volume, which includes Plate 1, has an identical 1757-dated title page as another copy that contains the first state of Plate 2. Since we know Plate 2 was revised and used later in the 18th century, this would support the notion that Plate 1 deserves priority, and that it may have been lost or irreparably damaged during the initial year of publication.

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