Pompei and Mount Vesuvius

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Pompei and Vesuvius combined the persistent fascination of active volcanoes with the historical excitement of the recent excavations of classical ruins. These books each highlight a different aspect of that appeal.


Gell's detailed study of the architectural discoveries unearthed at Pompei over the course of the eighteenth century provides an example of the strong English interest in topography and archaeology that often informed travel. This particular image also shows the strikingly barren profile of Vesuvius across the otherwise lush plain.
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The influence of Vulcan

This early account highlights the associations of volcanoes with Vulcan and the underworld. Vesuvius had last erupted in 1631, with the loss of 4000 lives. Although the engraving exaggerates the descent, Raymond does admit that 'wee went easily down, though almost up to the knees in ashes'. (162-63).
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The active volcano

As this page vividly illustrates, Vesuvius continued to be quite active after Raymond's visit. Published in Naples for an English audience, this book represents the nineteenth-century traveller's increasingly scientific interests.
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An early coffee table book

This early version of the coffee-table book provides interesting insights into assumptions about Italian life, with its lively images of landmarks, religious processions, and peasant life. Given the French title and lack of publishing information, it is likely that a traveller collected the pictures individually, and then had them coloured and bound upon return home, much as we do with the modern photo album.
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Detail: Salita al vesuvio. Sauvenirs de Naples. [Naples : s.n., 18--?] de Beer Eb/1800/S

Detail: Salita al vesuvio. Sauvenirs de Naples. [Naples : s.n., 18--?]
de Beer Eb/1800/S
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