Mount Vesuvius' crater, Kingdom of Naples, 1767.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand-coloured etching by Peter Fabris (active 1768-1779) and taken from William Hamilton's (1730-1803) study of Italian volcanoes, 'Campi Phlegraei' (published in Naples, 1776). Image shows the interior of Vesuvius's crater prior to the great eruption of 1767, detailing the 'little mountain' (1) and a stream of lava (2). Based on letters to the Royal Society in London, 'Campi Phlegraei' is a seminal work on volcanic activity, illustrating Hamilton's claim that volcanoes are creative rather than destructive natural forces.