HAMILTON, William (1730-1803)
Campi Phlegraei, Osservazioni sui Vulcani del Regno delle Due Sicilie ...
Napoli: Edizione Banco de Napoli, 1985. Folio. (18 1/2 x 13 3/8 inches). Text in Italian.
Quarter vellum over paper-covered boards.
Reprint of Hamilton's "magnificent publication."
Written by Sir William Hamilton, the British envoy to the Neapolitan royal court in 1764, the work is a firsthand report that documents the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in the late eighteenth century. It is named after the area around Naples known as the Campi Phlegraei or "flaming fields," referring to the frequent and violent eruptions of Mount Vesuvius. Campi Phlegraei is probably the best known of Hamilton's four works on volcanic activity, and "provided a clearer, more precise and useful explanation of volcanic activity than ever published before, which underlined Hamilton's own theories about volcanoes being creative forces and enabled him to answer in one publication the lists of questions about volcanoes and rocks he had been receiving from correspondents all over Europe. Its publication in French and English provided it with a market not only in his own country but throughout Europe as well, and an international audience for a British discovery" (Jenkin and Sloan).