From 1764 to 1800 Sir William Hamilton amused himself as the representative of George III at the Court of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Living in Naples could be described as residing ‘in a remote situation’. Officially, there was little to do, beyond taking an amateur interest in the terms of trade between the two countries, and acting as an upmarket tourist guide to English visitors who ventured south of Rome. It was a posting without pressure or disturbance.
With time on his hands, Sir William was allowed to pursue his hobbies. He was fascinated by volcanoes and southern Italy had lots of them. Vesuvius even put on one or two spectacular eruptions. Of equal interest were the excavations of the Roman world at Pompeii, Herculaneum and many other