Volcano Club

Volcano Club only offers one type of membership - and that's lifetime. To become a member send some volcanic themed work to the HQ (volcanoclubhq@gmail.com) and you might get a codename or some other cool shit.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Some people are actually more obsessed with volcanoes than me

My dad went to the Science Museum archive in Wroughton (there has to be something there) recently and found a volcano book. It was a book of drawings that an posh old Brit did of Vesuvius, people who actually know something about volcanoes won't be surprised that it's Sir William Hamilton. He's also the subject of the book The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag which I won't go on about cos I've done it before but if you're every looking for a book that combines volcanoes with art and feminism (who isn't?) then it's for you. Anyway Wills, as I will refer to the Chevalier Hamilton from this point forth, was obsessed with volcanoes in a way I can relate to. His obsession was not scientific and purely artistic before volcanoes he was obsessed with loads of other art forms (vases were one I think), he was also very into ownership, he wanted to own everything connected with Vesuvius, sadly this is where his dodgy views about women come in too. He did loads and loads of studies of Vesuvius and here are some of them complete with Wills' descriptions, I've copied his text so that why some of the spelling looks odd (apart from the bits I've just got wrong).

 Marble and other mixed stones of Vesuvius polished

Lava, Scoriae, and Pumice Stones &c of Mount Vesuvius
4. Ball of Lava. Such rounds balls (some of an enormous size) are frequently met with amidst the scoriae of the modern lavas of Vesuvius. They are formed at the time of the lava rolling downs the flanks of the volcano.
7. Lava in a more perfect vitrified state 

View of an eruption of lava from the Crater of Mount Vesuvius taken from an original painting of Mr. Fabris done form nature about 22 years aga
View of the great eruption of Vesuvius from the mole of Naples in the night of the 20th of Octr 1767
Interior View of the Crater of Mount Vesuvius, as it was before the great eruption of 1767
The black on the plain (2) is a stream of lava, that ran from the little mountain (1). The prodigious quantity of Volcanick matter, that was thrown up during the eruption of 1767, entirely filled the plain between the little mountain (1) and the old crater (3), so that the mouth of the little mountain is the present crater of Vesuvius, in which an other little mountain is already formed.
Interior View of the Crater of Mount Vesuvius from an original drawing taken on the sport in the year 1756, and will serve to give an Idea of the changes this part of an active Volcano is subject to.
When the Volcano threatens an eruption, it is not adviseable to go into the Crater, as an sudden explosion often occasions great Cracks, or Chasms in the platform; and there is likewise danger from the sudden emission of stones, and sulphureous smoke.
View of the Lake Avernus taken from the road between Puzzoli and Cuma. This Lake was evidently the crater of a Volcano. This spot has been celebrated by many ancient Poets, who brought their heroes here to sacrifice to the manes, or consult the Sybil, Hercules, Ulisses, and Eneas are mention'd to have been at Avernus.
A Birds eye View of the Territory raised by Volcanick Explosions, and which the Ancients comprehended under the name of Campo Phlegraei.
1. The Mountains of Somma, and Vesuvius
A Night view of a current of lava, that ran from Mount Vesuvius towards Resina, the 11th of May 1771. When the author has the honour of conducting THEIR SICILIAN MAJESTIES to that curious phaenomenon.
View of the first discovery of the Temple of Isis at Pompeii, which City was buried by showers of pumice stones and other volcanick matter.
Specimens of curious stones found by the Author on Mount Vesuvius

There are loads more but here is a just a selection and the descriptions are all very long. I really like the rocks painted as still life. I think the range of pictures shows his obsession well as the paintings really aren't great but he still kept on doing them. Studying volcanoes was clearly the interesting part for him or just swanning about in Naples pretending to be an artist. 

1 comment:

  1. Good evening, could you please let me know the publisher and year for this facsimile? Thank you!