Vesuvius in Eruption with a View over the Islands in the Bay of Naples by Joseph Wright of Derby

Wright embarked for Italy in 1773 and was greatly inspired by Vesuvius.


Oil on canvas
122 x 176 cm
Art Fund grant:
£75,000 ( Total: £950,000; Tax remission)
Acquired in:
Viscount Dunluce

In this work the entire cone of the volcano is red-hot; from an appallingly glorious vortex above it, an uncontrollable force of molten gold is shot like a rocket into the night sky. Wright contrasts the colours of the eruption with the moonlit water of the Bay of Naples, from which rise the dark shapes of the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida.


Earls of Antrim; by descent to Lord Dunluce.