Campi Phlegraei. Observations on the Volcanos of the two Sicilies as They have been communicated to the Royal Society of London.

Lot Number 115
Author HAMILTON, Sir William (1730-1803).
Title Campi Phlegraei. Observations on the Volcanos of the two Sicilies as They have been communicated to the Royal Society of London.
Year Published 1776
Place Printed Naples
Printed By sold by Pietro Fabris
Description HAMILTON, Sir William (1730-1803). Campi Phlegraei. Observations on the Volcanos of the two Sicilies as They have been communicated to the Royal Society of London.
Comments Naples: sold by Pietro Fabris, 1776-1779. 3 parts [including Supplement] in 3 volume, 2o (447 x 332 mm). Text in English and French. Double-page hand-colored engraved map by Giuseppe Guerra after Fabris and 59 hand-colored etched plates (numbered 1-54 and 1-5) after Fabris. (Minor marginal dampstaining or dust soiling to some text leaves.) Contemporary Italian half sheep and paper covered boards (light rubbing and minor wear to edges). FIRST EDITION OF HAMILTON'S "MAGNIFICENT PUBLICATION" (Jenkins and Sloan). Although Hamilton's Observations on Mount Vesuvius (published by the Royal Society in 1772) was well-received at the time and ran to three editions, the Campi Phlegraei is 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). Pietro Fabris (fl.1756-1784), an artist living in Naples, was commissioned and trained by Hamilton to sketch the volcanoes of southern Italy. In four years Hamilton climbed Vesuvius at least twenty-two times, sometimes at great risk, since both he and Fabris wished to make sketches at every stage of the eruptions (the figures of Hamilton, often wearing a red coat, and Fabris, in blue, appear in the plates). THE PLATES ARE SO OPAQUELY COLORED THAT THE ENGRAVED BASE BENEATH IS HARDLY VISIBLE: indeed, Hamilton himself describes them as "executed with such delicacy and perfection, as scarcely to be distinguished from the original drawings themselves" (Part I, p. 6). Hamilton then asked Fabris to undertake the publication of his letters to the Royal Society, to be illustrated by engravings after the original drawings. [Laid in: "Two Letters from the Hon. William Hamilton containing an Account of the last Eruption of Mount Vesuvius." From: Philosophical Transcations 1767, pp. 191-200. 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. Brunet III, 31 ("Ouvrage curieux et bien exicut"); ESTC T71231 (parts I-II); I. Jenkins and K. Sloan Vases and Volcanoes (London: 1996), "Catalogue" 43; Lewine p.232; Lowndes II, p.989. -3
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Estimated Price USD 80,000.00 - 120,000.00
Actual Price USD 92,500.00

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AUCTION DETAILS

Auction House Christies
Website http://www.christies.com
Auction Name Books and Manuscripts Session I
Sale Number #2607
Auction Date December 7, 2012 - December 7, 2012
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