Sir William Hamilton, diplomat, antiquarian and aesthete was the British Ambassador to Naples from 1764-1800. Apart from his diplomatic duties he was an antiquarian and a host/tour guide to Grand Tour tourists of the day eager to see the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Hamilton was also an avid collector of Greek, Roman and Etruscan artifacts.
He purchased the Porcinari Collection -a noted collection of Greek Vases and had them drawn and engraved by Johannes Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein. He was a member of the German artist family of the same name. Tischbein was a skilled artist, engraver and a friend of Goethe who he painted portraits of. Tischbein was also active in the Naples area in the latter part of the 18th Century and I suppose an obvious choice to reproduce Hamilton’s collection of antique vases.
Four folios were produced from 1768 to 1803. It is said Josia Wedgwood took inspiration from Hamilton’s books by interpreting them into his may lines of Wedgwood Pottery produced at his Etruria Works. This engraving is Plate .47 from Volume IIII "Sir William Hamilton's Collection of Antique Vases "- The Florence Edition –Societe Chalcographique circa 1800-1803. The engraving has been colored by hand in true attic colors in a lively and dynamic representation of a Greek mythological setting. The frame measures 17 1/2" by 25". The image measurements are 11 " by 18 ½". There is some slight spotting to the margin but overall, in very good condition. It has been recently framed with an acid-free mat and a simple black frame.
Item ID: RLES3053
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We are on our first annual European trip, finding treasures. Check us out when we get back April 24!