Volcanic activity on Mount Vesuvius, Kingdom of Naples, 1779.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand-coloured etching by Peter Fabris (active 1768-1779). The frontispiece, one of five illustrated plates from the 1779 supplement to William Hamilton's study of Italian volcanoes, 'Campi Phlegraei' (published, Naples 1776). These images show (1, 4) eruption, 8th August 1779, (2, 5) Vesuvius' cone and (3, 6) lava flow after an eruption of 1777. 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.