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Studies & Designs: Vesuvius from the Royal Gardens, Naples
The Trustees of the British Museum
John Whessell (c.1760-1806) after Wilson
Studies & Designs: Vesuvius from the Royal Gardens, Naples
Published 1811
Soft-ground etching, with etching
173 x 229 mm
6 13/16 x 9 in.
View of a smoking volcano, seen on the right with another mountain to the left beyond trees and smaller buildings in the foreground - all within an etched rectangular border
Bought from Samuel & Sons, 1863
Lettered below the image 'Wilson del' 'From the King of Naples GARDEN' 'Whessell Sc'
The gardens are those of the royal palace of Portici just outside Naples, built from 1738 to 1742 for King Charles III of Naples and Sicily and his queen, Maria Amalia of Saxony. The gardens were later described as 'at the east on the slopes of Vesuvius: they are immense, little adorned, but with many trees that are always green, especially service and arbutus trees, which feed the thrushes that abound there.' (Corografia dell'Italia, 1834). The small buildings in the foreground may be part of the royal menagerie.
D53/77Studies and Designs done in Rome in the Year 1752, p. 77, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
From a set of small soft-ground etchings by Whessell at the British Museum ( E60/1- E60/44). These were made after Wilson's drawings in the sketchbook of the same title at the Victoria & Albert Museum (D53-D53/81). The present one is taken from p. 77 (D53/77). In 1811 the etchings were published by the Oxford-based publisher, Robert Archer in more than one format - this one with an introduction and list of subscribers.
G.B. Rampoldi, Corografia dell'Italia, 1834, vol. 3, p. 43