HAMILTON, Sir William. Campi Phlegraei, observations on the Volcanos of the two Sicilies. Naples: 1776-1779.
Three volumes in one, including supplement, 2° (447 x 320mm.), titles and double-column text in English and French, double-page hand-coloured map engraved by Joseph Guerra after Pietro Fabris and 59 fine hand-coloured plates after Fabris, each edged in black with grey wash border. Contemporary russia, sides with gilt Greek key-pattern and ruled borders, g.e. (neatly rebacked preserving original green label). Provenance: Frances Mary Richardson Currer with her bookplate and autograph inscription on fly-leaf.
FIRST EDITION: A FINE COMPLETE COPY from the library of Miss Richardson Currer (1785-1861) England's earliest female bibliophile with a signed note Left me by my Aunt, Mrs. Dorothy Richardson, beneath Dorothy Richardson's signature. On the leaf of descriptive text for plate III there is a note in ink probably in the latter's hand, with statistics of provisions consumed at Naples apparently given to Lord Archibald Hamilton in 1793.
PIETRO FABRIS, although he had spent most of his life in Naples, was a British subject and had exhibited in London in 1768. Hamilton himself, wearing a red coat, appears in many of his fine plates, either riding or leaning on his cane, alone or talking to a fellow antiquarian, and in plate XXXVIII he is showing a river of fire to the King and Queen of Naples. Hamilton produced the work for presentation to the Royal Society of London in support of his theories concerning the formation of land mass as a result of volcanic activity and the text conveys the enthusiasm he felt for the great volcano.