Molo di Napoli

Description

A large market in souvenir views for Grand Tourist flourished in late 18th-century Naples. The function of eye-catching gouaches like this nocturnal view of Vesuvius, primarily produced for foreign travellers, has been compared with that of modern-day postcards. This drawing, held in the King’s Topographical Collection, shows the eruption of Vesuvius in June 1794, recorded at precisely 2 o’clock in the morning. In the foreground, a group of men watch from the other side of the bay how, according to contemporary accounts, ‘a fountain of fire’ flows from an open crater and clouds of dense smoke rise above Portici and Torre del Greco. Groups of spectators also appear on the pier, at the feet of the lighthouse at left and on boats and ships in the bay beyond.

Full title:
Molo di Napoli, con terribile eruzione del Vesuvio mandata fuori la sera de 15 del mese di Giugno, 1794
Created:
1794
Format:
Gouache / View
Creator:
anonymous
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Maps K.Top.83.61.k.

Full catalogue details

Related articles

A royal armchair traveller: The Grand Tour and the King’s Topographical Collection

Article by:
Mercedes Cerón
Themes:
Antiquarianism, Town and city, Science and nature

George III never visited Italy. Instead he collected prints, drawings and guidebooks enabling him to travel virtually to antiquity's greatest architectural and artistic sites. Mercedes Cerón explores this rich collection of Grand Tour material to shed light on George III's particular brand of armchair tourism.

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