Sir William Hamilton
Johann Heinrich WilhelmTischbein
Collection Of Engravings From Ancient Vases Of Greek Workmanship: Discoverd In Sepulchres In The Kingdom Of The Two Sicilies But Chiefly In The Neighbourhood Of Naples During The Course Of The Years MDCCLXXXIX and MDCCLXXXX Now In The Possession Of Sir Wm. Hamilton, His Britannic Maiesty’s Envoy Extry. And Plenipotentiary At The Court Of Naples
On the tenth of December 1798, HMS Colossus foundered off the Scilly Islands (west of the tip of Cornwall) where she had taken refuge in a gale. She was on her way to England with eight cases of Sir William Hamilton’s second collection of vases deep in her hold.
Hamilton believed that the values of his collections of Greek vases lay not only in their intrinsic beauty, but also in their ability to provide inspiration and models for artists of his own day. He therefore wished to make their images more widely available. His first collection was published in the form of costly volumes containing elaborate colored engravings. Since this did not fully serve Hamilton’s purpose, when he published his second collection he instructed the artist in charge, William Tischbein, to make drawings more accurate and the production simpler and less expensive. The result was four volumes (and an incomplete fifth) consisting essentially of outlines of the figure subjects on selected vase, including mant that went down with the Colossus. [Susan Woodford, Tischbein and the Fragments of Vases Recovered from HMS Colossus]