Sir William Hamilton (1730-1803)

Ambassador to the Court of Naples (1764-1800), husband of Emma, Lady Hamilton (Nelson's mistress). He took a close interest in the excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii. His collection of Greek and Italian vases greatly inspired Josiah Wedgwood I in the production of his so-called Black Basalt 'Etruscan' wares. Details concerning this vast collection of vases amassed by Hamilton appeared in a four-volume work compiled by d'Hancarville entitled 'Antiquities, Etrusques Grecques, et Romaines' published 1766-7. Hamilton was also responsible for bringing the Barberini, also known as the Portland Vase, to Britain. He was amongst the first to congratulate Josiah Wedgwood I on the achievement in copying the form of the vase in his new and revolutionary Jasper body.


William Hamilton, © Wedgwood Museum

William Hamilton
© Wedgwood Museum