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Sir William Hamilton
HAMILTON, William, <i>Sir</i>.

HAMILTON, William, Sir.
(1730 - 1803)

(Born: Henley-on-Thames, Park Place, London, England, 13 December 1730; Died: London, England, 6 April 1803) English diplomat & archeologist.

Diplomat, archaeologist, and collector, and British envoy and plenipotentiary at Naples from 1764, where his embassy became a cultural and musical centre; he entertained many travellers on the Grand Tour, studied Vesuvius (recording his observations in Campi Phlegraei: Observations on the Volcanos of the Two Sicilies, 1776), collected so-called Etruscan vases and paintings, and in 1791 married, as his second wife, Emma Hart (born Amy Lyon) who was to achieve notoriety as the mistress of Nelson. The Hamiltons were recalled to England in 1800, where Sir William died, with both Emma and Nelson attending his deathbed. His friends and correspondents included Beckford and Horace Walpole, and his collections exerted a wide influence on neo-classicism in Britain; one of his most important collections of vases, terracottas, coins, etc., sold to the British Museum in 1771, laid the foundation for its department of classical antiquities. Fourth son of Lord Archibald Hamilton. In 1758 he married Catherine Barlow, the daughter of Member of Parliament Hugh Barlow. He became ambassador of England in Naples in 1764. He studied the excavations at Pompei and published scientific books on vases. His first collection of vases he sold to the British Museum, the second collection went down with the ship that was transporting them to England on 12 Oct 1798. After Catherine's death he married Emma Lyon when he was sixty years old. Emma eventually became far more famous than her husband as the mistress of Lord Nelson. Hamilton was elected FRS in 1766,

Biographical references: Allibone, Dictionary of English Literature, 1859-71. Barr, Index to Biographical Fragments, 1973: 111. BBA: I 510, 1-20, 26-41. Eminent Scotsmen. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition. Poggendorff: 1, cols. 1009-10. Principe, Volcanology in the 18th Century. 2000. Sarjeant, Geologists, 1980: 2, 1190. Sarjeant, Geologists, Suppl. 2, 1995: 1, 697. Waller, Dictionary of Universal Biography, 1857-63. Watt, Bibliotheca Britannica, 1824. WBI. World Who's Who in Science: 744.

1. English, 1772.
Observations on Mount Vesuvius, Mount Etna, and other Volcanos, in a series of letters addressed to the Royal Society, from the Honourable Sir William Hamilton ... To which are added, explanatory notes by the author, hitherto unpublished. London, T. Cadell, 1772.

8°:[i]-iv, [1]-179, [1] p., frontispiece (folding map), 5 plates.

Very scarce. Edited by the publisher Thomas Cadell. While he was the British Envoy to the Court of Naples, Hamilton made many important observations on the volcanoes of the region including Etna and Vesuvius as well as the extinct volcanoes of the Rhineland. With the companionship of the geologist and naturalist Hugh Strickland [1811-1853] the pair studied the vulcanology and geology of Asia Minor. Their observations were sent to the Royal Society in a series of important letters, which were gathered together and published as this study. Later, Hamilton would follow up on this work with his magnificently illustrated and monumental Campi Phlegraei [which see entry below].

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 604.

2. English, 1773 [2nd edition].
Observations | On | Mount Vesuvius, | Mount Etna, | And Other Volcanos: | In | A Series Of Letters, | Addressed To The Royal Society, | From the Honourable Sir W. Hamilton, | K.B.F.R.S. | His Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Pirnipotentlary | at the Court of Naples. | To which is added, | Explanatory Notes by the Author, | hitherto unpublished. | The Second Edition. | London, | Printed for T. Cadell, in The Strand. | MDCCLXXIII.

8°: [i]-iv, [1]-179, [1] p., frontispiece (folding map), 5 plates.

Very scarce. Second edition, edited by Thomas Cadell.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 604.

3. English, 1774 [Reissue(?)].
Observations on Mount Vesuvius, Mount Etna, and other Volcanos, in a series of letters addressed to the Royal Society, from the Honourable Sir William Hamilton ... To which are added, explanatory notes by the author, hitherto unpublished. A new edition. London, Printed for T. Cadell, 1774.

8°: A2 B-M8 N2; 92l.; iv, 179, [1] p., 6 engraved plates: numbered Plate I-IV (single-page plates, at pp. 40, 41, 44, 55, 89) and 'Philos. Trans Vol. LXI. Tab.I', signed 'Basire Sc.' (foldout map, at p. 44). Page size: 181 x 121mm.

Very scarce. First collected edition, edited by Thomas Cadell, with additional notes supplied by Hamilton, of papers first published in Philosophical Transactions. Hamilton was elected FRS in 1766, and these papers were the first published the results of his extensive studies on volcanoes - he climbed Vesuvius at least twenty-two times. These detailed reports were important in the development of "vulcanism" (Porter Earth Sciences 5-14). His great colour plate book of views of volcanoes, Campi phlegraei, was not published until 1776.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 604.

4. German, 1773 [German transl.].
Beobachtungen über den Vesuv, den Aetna und andere Vulkane, in einer Reihe von Briefen an die königl. grossbr. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, von seiner excellenz Sir Wilhelm Hamilton ... nebst neuen erläuternden Anmerkungendes Herrn Verfassers ... Aus dem Englischen. Berlin, Haude und Spener, 1773.

8°: [1], 196 p., [2], plates, folding map.

Very scarce. LKG: XIV 605a. First German edition, translated from Observations on Mount Vesuvius, Mount Etna, and other Volcaones (1772).

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 605a.

5. English & French, 1776 [First edition].
Campi Phlegraei. | [rule] | Observations On The Volcanos Of The Two Sicilies | As They Have Been Communicated To The Royal Society | Of London | By | Sir William Hamilton | K.B.F.R.S. | His Britannic Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary, And Plenipotentiary | At The Court Of Naples. | To which, in Order to convey the most precise idea of each remark, a new and | accurate Map is annexed, with 54 plates illuminated, from Drawings taken | and colour'd after Nature, under the inspection of the Author, | by the Editor Mr. Peter Fabris. | Naples MDCCLXXVI. | [ornate rule] | Observations sur les volcans des deux Siciles | telles qu'elle on été communiquées à la Societé Royale | de Londres | par La | Chevalier Hamilton | Chevalier de l'Ordre du Bain, Envoye Extraordinaire et Plenipo- | rentiare de sa Majeste Britannique à la Cour de Naples, | et Membre de la Societe Royale de Londres | auxquelles pour donner une idée plus precise de chaque Observation on a ajouté une Carte | nouvelle & tres excite avec 54 planches enluminées d'aprés les Desseins faits | & Colories sur la nature méme, sous l'Inspection de l'Auteur, | par l'Editeur le Sieur Pierre Fabris | Naples. | MDCCLXXVI.

Text and atlas. [Text] 2°: 90, [2] p., double page map; [Atlas] 2°: 53 colored plates, 54l. Text is in English and French in parallel column throughout. Page size: 460 x 328 mm.

Contents: [Text] [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [Plate I. Engraved and pictured title page].; [2 pgs], Explanation to preceeding plate, verso blank.; [Double page folding map].; 3-13, Dedication to Sir John Pringel.; 14-90, "Observations on Mount Vesuvius."; [1 pg], Text in Latin.; [1 pg], Blank.

[Atlas] [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; plates II-LIIII, with one leave of explanatory text intersperced between the plates.

Plates: The plates are colored and printed on toned paper to appear like original drawings. No descriptions appear on the plates. This is supplied by the leave of explanatory text in both French and English that accompanies each plate. Plate I is bound in after the title page, all others are at the end of the volume.

Descriptions for the following list of plates was taken from the explanatory letter press that accompanies each plate.

[I. Engraved and pictured title page, showing 6 small views with the words "Societati Regiae Londini Gulielmus Hamilton Baln- [sic] Ord-Eques-D.D.D.CI{[Backwards c]}I[Backwards c]CCLXXVI."]. II. [Six plans of the Top of Mount Vesuvius]. III. [View of Naples taken from Pausilipo]. IV. [View of Naples from the Sea Shore]. V. [View of eruption of Lava from the Crater of Mt. Vesuvius]. VI. [View of the Great Eruption of Vesuvius fro the Mole of Naples]. VII. [View of Mount Vesuvius from the Sea shore at Resina]. VIII. [Representation of a thick stratum of Lava]. IX. [Interior View of the Crater of Mount Vesuvius before the Great Eruption].

X. [Interior View of the Crater of Mount Vesuvius before the Great Eruption]. XI. [View of Mont S. Angelo]. XII. [View of an eruption 23 December 1760]. XIII. [View of the state of the Little Mountains raised by the explosion of 1760]. XIV. [View of te Crater or inside on the cone of the Little Mountain]. XV. [Section of part of the Cone of the Mountain of Somma]. XVI. [Entrance of the Grotta of Pausilipo]. XVII. [Bird's eye views from teh convent of Camaldoli]. XVIII. [The Lake of Agnano]. XIX. [View of a section of a cone of Astruni].

XX. [View into the Crater of Astrani]. XXI. [View of the hot spring called the Pisciarelli]. XXII. [View of the Porto Pavone]. XXIII. [View of part of the outside of the cone of the Solfaterra]. XXIV. [View of Puzzoli]. XXV. [View of the Solfaterra]. XXVI. [Entrance of the Grotta of Pausilipo]. XXVII. [View taken from the bottom of the Crater of Monte Nuovo]. XXVIII. [View taken from the top of Monte Gauro]. XXIX. [View of the Lake Avernus].

XXX. [View of the island of Ischia]. XXXI. [A bird's eye view of the territory raised by Volcanick Explosions]. XXXII. [View of part of the island of Ischia called Lasco]. XXXIII. [View in the Valley called Atrio di Cavallo]. XXXIV. [View from the Sea of ... Capo'dell' Arco in Island of Ventotiene]. XXXV. [View of part of the inside of the Cone of the mountain of Somma]. XXXVI. [View of Mount Etna from Catania]. XXXVII. [View of the island of Stomboli]. XXXVIII. [Night view of a current Lava]. XXXIX. [Interior view of ... Fossa Grande].

XXXX. [View of a hollow road leading from the Grotta of Pausilipo]. XXXXI. [View of the first discovery of the temples of Isis at Pompeii]. XXXXII. [Specimens of Tufas]. XXXXIII. [Specimens of curious volcanick matter]. XXXXIV. [6 pieces of lava]. XXXXV. [7 pieces of Tufa]. XXXXVI. [7 pieces of volcanic matter]. XXXXVII. [Piece of Marble and calcarious stone]. XXXXVIII. [9 Specimens of curious stones]. XXXXXIX. [12 Specimens of Lavas].

L. [12 Specimens of marble and other mixed stones]. LI. [Lava Scoriae and Pumice stones]. LII. [Vitrifications and other Volcanick productions]. LIII. [Productions of the Solfaterra]. LIV. [Stones of Crystal commonly called Gems of Mount Vesuvius].

Rare. A monumentally beautiful work, highly prized for its beautiful plates showing panoramas of Italian volcanoes, as well as minerals found around volcanoes. Text is in parallel columns of English and French. Also on view are striking hand-colored etchings by Pietro Fabris that depict the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius and the fiery fields of the Campi Phlegraei. In The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 9, 1779, Fabris dramatically records the spectacular views that drew 18th-century travelers to the region to sketch and to collect rocks, shells, and antique fragments found on the path of the flowing lava. This huge tome describes volcanic areas around Pozzuoli to the west of Naples, Vesuvius, islands in the Bay and Mount Etna in Sicily. Campi Phlegraei was expensive to produce but provided clear, precise, more useful and much more detailed explanations of volcanic activity than had previously been published, and included Sir William Hamilton's own theories that volcanoes were creative rather than destructive forces. Published in both Italy and England it sold widely throughout Europe and was hailed as a masterpiece. Sir William Hamilton, the diplomat and archaeologist, served as British envoy to the court of Naples from 1764-1800. It was at the end of his second year of residence in Naples that Vesuvius began a series of great volcanic eruptions, all of which he witnessed, in 1767, 1779 and 1794. He produced several treatises on earthquakes and volcanoes, including these observations on Vesuvius and Etna, published in 1776. The text - the first major contribution on volcanology since the Renaissance - is Hamilton's own, while the fifty-four hand-coloured plates which describe the activity of the volcanoes are the work of Pietro Fabris. A spectacular night view of the eruption of Vesuvius on 11 May 1771 is shown here, the lava forming a beautiful cascade of fire; Hamilton is depicted drawing the original in the lower left corner. Knighted in 1772, Hamilton was a notable collector. He aided his friend, William Hunter, the original owner of this volume, in acquiring coins and medals from Italy. He was also the husband of Emma, Lady Hamilton, the mistress of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Fabris was the sole distributor of the work, which was originally published at 60 Neapolitan ducats for Part I and Part II; the price of the Supplement is not recorded. Jenkins and Sloan state that 'some copies have bodycolour and gum arabic added to the etchings, perhaps indicating that they were de luxe versions'. Brunet III, 31 ('Ouvrage curieux et bien exécuté'); I. Jenkins and K. Sloan - Vases and Volcanoes (London: 1996), 'Catalogue' 43.

Reprint, 1962: Campi Phlegraei. Osservazioni sui vulcani delle Due Sicilie comunicate alla Reale Società di Londra da Sir William Hamilton. Illustrate con tavole di Pietro Fabris. A cura di G. Doria. Polifilo, Milano, 1962. 2°: [4], 146 p., 24 color plates. Limited reprint edition of Hamilton's famous Campi Phlegraei.

Italian translation, 2000: Campi Flegrei : osservazioni sui vulcani delle Due Sicilie. Prima traduzione italiana a cura di Antonio Tommaselli. Introduzione di Carlo Knight. Napoli, Grimaldi, 2000. 254 p., [54, 5] leaves of plates. Illustrative matter consists of reproductions of the 54 colored plates from the English edition of 1776, and 5 from the account of the eruption of Vesuvius in 1779, all by Peter [i.e., Pietro] Fabris. Includes reproduction of the original title pages. Text translated from: Campi Phlegraei; observations on the volcanoes of the Two Sicilies as they have been communicated to the Royal Society of London / Sir William Hamilton. Naples, 1776, and Supplement to the Campi Phlegraei, being an account of the great eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in the month of August, 1779. Naples, 1779.

Bibliographical references: Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 221 ["Magnificent binding"]. LKG: XIV 606b. Tooley, English Books, 1973: 435-7.

6. English & French, 1779 [Supplement].
Supplement to the Campi Phlegraei being an account of the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the month of August 1779 communicated to the Royal Society of London by Sir William Hamilton K.B.F.R.S. His Britannic Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary, and Plenipotentiary at the Court of Naples to which are annexed 5 Plates illuminated from Drawings [sic] taken, and colour'd after nature under the inspection of the Author by the Editor Mr. Peter Fabris, Naples 1779 [ornate rule] Supplement au Campi Phlegraei ou Relation de la Grande Eruption du Mont Vesuve au mois de Mai [sic] 1779 communiquée à la Societé Roiale de Londres par le chevalier Hamilton Chevalier de l'Ordre du Bain, Envoye extraordinaire, et plenipotentiare de sa majeste Britannique a la Cour de Naples, et membre de la Societe Roiale de Londres. A la queue on a ajoute 5 Planches enluminees d'apres les Desseins fan's, & coloriés d'aprés nature sous l'inspection de l'Auteur par l'Editeur le Sieur Pierre Fabris Naples 1779

2°: [2], 29, [3] p., 5l., 5 hand-colored plates.

Contents: Tooley (1973) gives: [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [Plate I being the engraved title page].; [2 pgs], Explanation of the preceeding plate.; [1]-28, Text.; [Plates II-V, with one leave of explanatory text intersperced among the plates].

Plates: Each plate is accompanied by one leave of explanatory text. Plate I follows the title page, all others are bound at the end of the volume. Descriptions for the following list of plates was taken from the explanatory letter press that accompanies each plate.

[I. Engraved and pictured title, showing 6 small views with the words Societati Regiae Londini Gulielmus Hamilton Bain-Ord Eques D.D.D.CI{[Backwards c]}I[Backwards c]CCLXXIX]. II. [View of the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius, August 8, 1779]. III. [View of the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius, August 9, 1779]. IV. [Fragments of very curious vitrified matter]. V. [Fragments of new lava].

Very rare. Supplement to the original Campi Phegræi describing the eruption of Vesuvius in August, 1779.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 606b. Tooley, English Books, 1973: 437.

7. French, 1799-1802 [2nd edition].
Campi Phlegraei, ou, Observations sur les volcans des Deux Siciles. Paris, [1799].

2°: ??, title page vignette, 120 plates (some folding). Each plate is in two states, plain and colored. Very scarce.

8. German, 1787.
Bericht vom gegenwärtigen Zustande des Vesuvs, und Beschreibung einer Reise in die Provinz Abruzzo und nach der Insel Ponza. Dresden, Walther, 1787.

8°: 28 p., title vignette.

Very scarce. LKG: XIV 610f. First German edition, translated by K.S. Walther. Originally published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1786.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 610f.

9. German, 1784 [German transl.].
Neuere Beobachtungen über die Vulkane Italiens und am Rhein, in Briefen von Sir Wilhelm Hamilton ... nebst merkwürdigen Bemerkungen des Abts Giraud Soulavie ... Aus dem französischen zum erstenmal übersetzt von G.A.R. ... Mit einer neuen karte. Frankfurt und Leipzig, bey C. Weigel und A.G. Schneider, 1784.

8°: xvi, 214 p., [8], folding map.

Very scarce. LKG: XIV 608d. Not in BLC. First German edition, translated by G.A.R.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 608d.

10. English, 1783.
An Account of the Earthquakes which happened in Italy, from February to May 1783. Read at the Royal Society, July 3, 1783. London: Printed by J. Nichols, 1783.

4°: 48 p.

Very scarce. Not in BLC. First edition.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 694b*.

11. French, 1783.
Details historiques sur les tremblemens de terre arrivés en Italie depuis le 5 Février jusqu'en Mai, 1783 par le Chevalier d'Hamilton et le Marquis Hippolyte. Traduit par M. Lefebvre de Villebrune. Paris: T. Barreis le jeune, 1783.

8°:

Very scarce. LKG: XIV 694b*. Not in BLC. First French edition, translated by Lefebvre de Villebrune.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 694b*.

12. German, 1783.
Bachricht von dem lezten Erdbeben in Kalabrien und Sizilien. Aus dem Englischen von A. Wittenberg. Altenburg, 1783.

8°:

Very scarce. LKG: XIV 693. Not in NUC or BLC. First German edition, translated by A. Wittenberg. Originally published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1783.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 693.

13. English, 178?.
An Account of the Earthquakes in Calabria, Sicily, {&}c. ... Colchester, 178?.

8°: iii, 35 p..

Very scarce. First Edition. Probablly a offprint of an article from the Philosophical Transactions.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 694.

14. French, 1784.
Relation des derniers tremblemens de Terre arrives en Calabre et en Sicile ... Traduite de l'anglois et enrichie de notes traduitee de l'Italian du G. Sella. Geneve: P. Barde, 1784.

8°: 76 p.

Very scarce. LKG: XIV 694. First French edition, translated by G. Sella.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 694.

Opisanie, 1787

15. Russian, 1787 [Russian transl.].
Russian Translation. St. Petersburg, 1787.

8°:

Very rare. Translation of ??????? (London, 1783).

Bibliographical references: Schmidt, Peter. "Gedanken zum Umbruch in der europäischen Seismologie während des 18. Jahrhunderts", Zeitschrift für geologische Wissenschaften, 8 (1980), no. 2, 189-206. [History of European seismology in the 18th century.].

16. Italian, 1778.
Lettera sul monte Volture a G. Hamilton del Domenico Tata. Napoli, 1778.

8°:

Very scarce. LKG: XIV 553. Not in NUC or BLC. First edition[?]. No information found.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 553.

17. German, 1786 [German transl.].
Des Ritters Hamilton Bemerkungen auf einer Reise nach der Insel Ponza. Aus dem Englischen. Dresden, 1786.

8°:

Very scarce. LKG: XIV 609e. Not in NUC or BLC. First German edition. Translation of a paper that originally appeared in the Philosophical Transactions.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 609e.

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