Mount Vesuvius erupting, Kingdom of Naples, 1779.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand-coloured etching by Peter Fabris (active 1768-1779). One of five illustrated plates from the 1779 supplement to William Hamilton's study of Italian volcanoes, 'Campi Phlegraei' (published in Naples, 1776). Image shows the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius during the night of 8th August 1779, as viewed from beside the Palace at Pausilipo (now known as Posillipo). Based on letters to the Royal Society, the book was a more precise study of volcanoes than had previously existed, illustrating Hamilton's claim that volcanoes are creative natural forces.