The Berger Collection

William Marlow (1740-1813)
Vesuvius Erupting at Night, ca. 1768
Oil on canvas
36 x 50 in. (91.5 x 127 cm)

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This painting is one of the first by a British artist showing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano outside Naples that destroyed the city of Pompeii in an eruption in 79 A.D. William Marlow sojourned in Italy during the years 1765-67, and likely witnessed two major eruptions, one in March 1766, the other in March 1767. During the decade after Marlow’s visit, eruptions of Vesuvius became a major tourist attraction for European and British gentry on the Grand Tour and a highly popular subject for artists of the day.


With Thomas Agnew & Sons, London; private collection, U.S.; Stanley Moss & Company, Riverdale-on-Hudson, New York


Exhibited: Royal Academy, London, 1768, Society of Artists Exhibition, no. 67; University of Michigan Museum of Art, 1977, Pompeii as Source and Inspiration: Reflections in Eighteenth-and Nineteeth-Century Art, no. 43 (attributed to Joseph Wright of Derby)

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