Mount Vesuvius erupting at night, Kingdom of Naples, 11 May 1771.
© 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 lava streams running into the valley between Mount Somma and Vesuvius. These streams formed a cascade of fire more than 50 feet in height as they headed toward the town of Resina, near Naples. Based on letters to the Royal Society, Hamilton's book is a seminal work on the nature and effects of volcanic explosions.