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MS Lowell 17

Hamilton, William, Sir, 1730-1803. Sir William Hamilton letters, memoranda, and drawings concerning Pompei and recent eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius and Etna, 1760-1799: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: f
Call No.: MS Lowell 17
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Hamilton, William, Sir, 1730-1803.
Title: Sir William Hamilton letters, memoranda, and drawings concerning Pompei and recent eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius and Etna,
Date(s): 1760-1799.
Quantity: 1 collection (.16 linear feet (1 volume)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Scrapbook of letters and drawings concerning Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. Etna collected by Sir William and Lady Hamilton.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Bequest of Amy Lowell; received: 1925. Recataloged from: Lowell 4211.22.


Palazzo Sessa at Naples, formerly the British embassy (inscription).

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Sir William Hamilton Letters, Memoranda, and Drawings Concerning Pompei and Recent Eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius and Etna, 1760-1799 (MS Lowell 17). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Separated Materials

Item (10), a watercolor and gouache drawing depicting the eruption of Vesuvius, with a manuscript note in the hand of Lady Hamilton, has been framed and cataloged as MS Lowell 18.

Biographical / Historical

Sir William Hamilton was a British diplomat, ambassador to Naples (1764-1800), and an archaeologist. His wife, Emma, was the mistress of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Hamilton acquired a collection of antiquities from Pompeii, which he sold to the British Museum in 1772, thereby stimulating wide interest in the art and culture of classical civilizations. He published several works based on archaeological pursuits, including Antiquités étrusques, greques et romains (1766-67) and Mount Vesuvius (1772).

Scope and Contents

Scrapbook containing correspondence and copies of letters of Sir William Hamilton, including letters from Archibald McLauchlan, a letter by Sir Horace Mann, transcribed by Hamilton, and a letter from Hamilton to Lady Hamilton; notes by Lady Hamilton; memoranda, plans, and drawings in color of the eruptions of Vesuvius and Etna in 1793; and an account of the eruptions by Fra Antonio da Petrizzi. Also includes a color lithograph of Lady Hamilton drawn by Giovanni Battista Cipriani.
Item numbers below reflect numbering in the scrapbook.

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