Excavations of the Roman town Pompeii

William Hamilton worked as a British diplomat in the Kingdom of Naples. There, he studied the volcanic activities of Mount Vesuvius and its effects on the ‘Campi Phlegraei’, the area around Naples called the ‘flaming fields’. Hamilton wrote about his discoveries to the Royal Society, and became a Fellow. His account of the eruption of 1772 was published as Campi phlegræi. Observations on the volcanoes of the Two Sicilies as they have been communicated to the Royal Society by Sir William Hamilton (Naples 1776), in the form of letters in both English and French. The hand coloured illustrations by Pietro Fabris do not only show Naples and the volcano, but also the excavations of the Roman town Pompeii, discovered in 1748. A selection of plates is shown below.

Campi phlegræi. Observations on the volcanoes of the Two Sicilies as they have been communicated to the Royal Society by Sir William Hamilton (Naples 1776) Fag.GG.2.17