volcanoes

Posted in Art, Getty Research Institute

Volcano Observer: Sir William Hamilton and Mount Vesuvius

View of an Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Peter Fabris. Hand-colored engraving in Sir William Hamilton, Campi Phlegraei, 1776.

As news of the erupting and disruptive Icelandic volcano has streamed worldwide, we should pause to pay homage to the pioneering work of the British diplomat, collector and amateur vulcanologist Sir William Hamilton (1730–1803). Appointed Britain’s special envoy to the Spanish court… More»

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      From you have I been absent in the spring,
      When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
      Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
      That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
      Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
      Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
      Could make me any summer’s story tell,
      Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
      Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
      Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
      They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
      Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
      Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
      As with your shadow I with these did play.

      —William Shakespeare, born April 23, 1564

      Vase of Flowers (detail), 1722, Jan van Huysum. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      04/23/14

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