The world’s finest collections of Greek and Roman antiquities
Sir William Hamilton was the British ambassador to Naples during the city’s golden age, from 1764 to 1800. An avid antiquarian, Hamilton assembled one of the world’s finest collections of Greek and Roman antiquities.
The core of his collection was bought en bloc from the Porcinari family, after an introduction by Hugues d’Hancarville, an amateur art dealer. Hamilton added several more choice items before selling the entire collection to the British Museum in 1772 for £8400, where it became one of main collections in the department of Greek and Roman antiquities. However, before the collection was shipped to England, Hamilton arranged for Hugues d’Hancarville to oversee the cataloguing and drawing of every item. The published work appeared in 1766-1767 and is a triumphant example of graphic art of the highest order.
In addition to his duties as ambassador, Hamilton was also renowned as a knowledgeable guide and congenial host to the visiting English ‘Grand Tourists’. With infectious enthusiasm he would extol the wonders of Naples and the beauties of arts of the ancient world, inspiring in many of his aristocratic visitors a genuine love of the antique. This new-found enthusiasm, fuelled by images such as the present engraving, found its expression in the new style of neo-classicism and in the collections of antiquities which found their way to many of the stately homes of England.
The Picturalist purchased a few of the original prints found in Europe that had been separated from the original volume created by Hancarville. There aren't many copies of these original prints as most still remain in their original volume. The latest complete volume was sold at Sotheby's in 2001 for six figures at auction.
Josiah Wedgwood was inspired in particular by the artworks Sir William Hamilton began to collect in the 1760s. Hamilton's collections were published as Etruscan, although the term was a misnomer, as many of the "Etruscan" items turned out to be pottery of ancient Greece and he later sold them to the British Museum.
More authentically Etruscan in inspiration was Wedgwood's black basalt stone ware. The designers employed by Wedgwood, were able to adapt this classical art for the eighteenth-century market. This products were greatly admired in Britain and abroad.
ABOUT THE PICTURALIST
The Picturalist offers a curated wall art collection featuring International emerging artists from a wide range of artistic backgrounds.
Interior designers work is very much intertwined with that of fine artists. Complete your design projects with the perfect artwork.