image hamilton w_supplement_1779_plate 2
Image number: RS.14110
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Eruption of Mount Vesuvius




Pietro Fabris (b.1738, Italian), Painter

Object type

Library reference




height (plate): 385mm
width (plate): 210mm
height (paper): 452mm
width (paper): 320mm


Content object

   > volcano


A night view of the eruption of Vesuvius on 8 August 1779. Four figures look on to the scene from Posillipo, a residential quarter offering views of the Gulf of Naples.

Plate two from the Supplement to Sir William Hamilton's Campi Phlegraei, 'Fields of Flame'.

William Hamilton (1730-1803) British diplomat, archaeologist and volcanologist was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1766 on the merit of his volcanic observations. He received the Copley Medal in 1770 for his 'Account of a Journey to Mount Etna'.

Pietro Fabris (1740-1792) was a British artist who accompanied Hamilton around Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius, and Lipari islands to document volcanic activities.

Object history

The original edition of ‘Campi Phlegraei; observations on the volcanos of the two Sicilies’ was published in 1776. This Supplement was published in 1779. It is composed of observations of the 1779 eruption sent to the then President of the Royal Society, Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820). Hamilton's observations are recorded via letters and these hand-coloured plates.

Related Fellows

William Hamilton (1731-1803, British), Diplomat

Associated place

<The World>
   > Europe
      > Italy