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HAMILTON, Sir William.

Observations on Mount Vesuvius,

Mount Etna, and other Volcanos: in a Series of Letters, addressed to the Royal Society... To which are added, Explanatory Notes by the Author, hitherto unpublished. A New Edition.

London: T. Cadell, 1774 Stock Code: 135652
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First published in 1772 and again in the following year. "While stationed at Naples, Hamilton developed a great interest in volcanoes, earning a contemporary European reputation as 'the modern Pliny' and the 'professor of earthquakes'. 'I am mad on the subject of volcanoes', he wrote to Greville on 3 March 1778... Vesuvius erupted several times during Hamilton's years in Naples, especially in 1767, 1779, and 1794, and on each occasion he made careful observations. Elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1766, he submitted to the society many observations and drawings of active volcanoes, which were published in the Philosophical Transactions over the period 1767 to 1795. Among his subjects were volcanic eruptions, volcanic soil, and electrical thunderstorms. In 1767 and 1770 he shipped a large number of volcanic rock, ash, and lava specimens from Vesuvius to London; some survive at the Natural History Museum, Kensington" (ODNB).

Provenance: attractive engraved armorial bookplate of Parick Heron of Heron (c. 1736-1803), Whig MP, cousin of James Boswell by his second marriage and, like Hamilton, a member of the Society of Antiquaries of Edinburgh; later ink signature-stamp and pencilled ownership inscriptions of Dr A. M. Cockburn, who gave his name to the Cockburn Geological Museum, University of Edinburgh.

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Octavo (187 x 115 mm). Contemporary tree sheep sometime neatly rebacked with the original red label laid down, border of gilt chevrons to sides.


6 engraved plates (including thre folding map of the Bay of Naples and surrounding country).


Binding just a little rubbed, slight wear to corners, closed-tear to map professionally repaired. A very good well-margined copy.


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