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HAMILTON, William.

Campi Phlegraei

Observations on the volcanos of the two Sicilies as they have been communicated to the Royal Society of London [with] Supplement to the Campi Phlegraei being an account of the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the month of August 1779.

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Naples, Pierre Fabris, 1776

Today the term Campi Phlegraei is used to describe the volcanic area around Pozzuoli to the west of Naples. Hamilton's magnificent publication was based on his letters to the Royal Society, which detailed the volcanic activities he had witnessed not only in that area but on the islands off its coast, in the area around Vesuvius and at Etna in Sicily, Stromboli and the Lipari islands.

This work is the best known of Hamilton's works on volcanic activity and the most lavishly illustrated. The colour is almost opaque, practically concealing the engraved surface. Hamilton described them as 'executed with such delicacy and perfection, as scarcely to be distinguished from the original drawings themselves'. Fabris, an artist living in Naples, was commissioned and trained by Hamilton to sketch the volcanoes of Southern Italy. In four years he and Hamilton climbed Vesuvius 22 times, often at great risk as Hamilton wished to

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First edition, 2 parts and supplement in 1 vol; folio (45 x 32.5 cm); hand-coloured double-page map by G. Guerra and 59 engraved hand-coloured plates after Pietro Fabris, the plates edged in black with grey washed margins including two engraved titles; contemporary red morocco, richly gilt, covers with gilt dentelles. NB. lacks first leaf of text in vol. I, else an excellent example.


Brunet III, 31 ('Ouvrage curieux et bien executé'); ESTC T71231 (parts I-II); I. Jenkins and K. Sloan Vases and Volcanoes (London: 1996), 'Catalogue' 43; Lewine p.232; Lowndes II, p.989.

Stock ID:102536

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