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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Lowell 17

Sir William Hamilton letters, memoranda, and drawings concerning Pompei and recent eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius and Etna


Scrapbook of letters and drawings concerning Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. Etna collected by Sir William and Lady Hamilton.


  • 1760-1799

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

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


.16 linear feet (1 volume)
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.

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).

Physical Location



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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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

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.
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 College Library

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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