Lot 307
  • 307

Pietro Fabris

30,000 - 40,000 USD
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  • Pietro Fabris
  • Naples, a view of the Gulf of Pozzuoli and the islands of Nisida, Procida, Ischia and Capri
  • signed and dated, lower center: Fabris. p. 1776
  • gouache on paper, within black ink framing lines
  • 28,5 x 48,8 cm


Monsieur le Chevalier de Fleurieu (his collector's label on the backing);
His sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 23 November 1929, lot 158;
Private collection, Rome;
By whom sold, Milan, Sotheby's, 13 November 2003, lot 151, where acquired.


Paris, Rue Saint-Ferdinand 16, Ferault, Exposition de Dessins et Quelques Peintures du XVe Siècle au XVIIe Siècle, 8-20 December 1930.


R.Muzzii, in S. Cassani (ed.), All'ombra del Vesuvio. Napoli nella veduta europea dal Quattrocento all'Ottocento, exhibition catalogue, Naples 1990, p. 383.

Catalogue Note

Pietro Fabris played a significant role in the development of eighteenth-century Neapolitan landscape painting and enjoyed great favor among the visiting Grand Tourists in Naples.  His popularity among English visitors in particular was no doubt increased by his close relationship with Sir William Hamilton (1730-1803), the British Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary in Naples.  Hamilton’s diplomatic role required him to send regular reports to the British Secretary of State and to welcome and entertain British visitors in Naples as a means of promoting commerce in the region.  Hamilton was a keen collector of art and antiquities and an amateur archeologist with a fascination for Mount Vesuvius.  He commissioned Fabris to illustrate his studies of the volcano and the artist accompanied him on numerous ascents up the mountain, sometimes in hostile conditions, to record its volcanic activity.  Hamilton’s observations were immortalized in his celebrated Campi Phlegraei accompanied by 54 illustrative plates by Fabris.   The treatise was published in 1776, the same year in which Fabris executed this signed painting. 

In the introduction to Campi Phlegraei, Fabris is described as “inglese” and he often signed his paintings "english peinter".    Circumstantial evidence points to his possible English origins such as his continued connection with London, exhibiting at the Free Society of Artists in 1768 and the Society of Artists in 1772.  While the artist may indeed have had some undocumented ancestral link with the country, his efforts to maintain his relationship with England would certainly have enhanced his popularity with English patrons and his signature may have been a simple homage to his clientele.