image hamilton,w_campi_phlegraei_1776_0152
Image number: RS.17603
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Lava

Date

1776

Creator

Pietro Fabris (b.1738, Italian), Painter

Object type

Library reference

42888

Material

Technique

Dimensions

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

Subject

Content object

nature
   > landscape

Description

Night view of a current of lava as it runs from Mount Vesuvius towards Resina. Figures stand to the left of the blazing stream [as viewed], and plumes of smoke rise up to the right.

Plate 38 from Campi Phlegraei: observations on the volcanos of the two Sicilies by William Hamilton. The plate is inscribed ‘XXXVIII’ in the top left corner.

Written in the associated description: 'It [the lava] ran into the Valley, between Somma and Vesuvius, (see P. XXXIII) disgorged itself into a hollow way, formed a beautiful Cascade of fire of more than 50 feet perpendicular fall, and escaping pure and in its fluid state from under Scoriae, fell into the hollow way, and produced the finest effect, that can possibly be imagined.'

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

This book of hand-coloured plates represents part II of Campi Phlegraei. It complements part I, which consists of letters only. Both were presented to the then President of the Royal Society, Sir John Pringle (1707-1782).

Associated place

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      > Italy