Copper engraving, 21.5 x 33 cm, black and white, blank verso. The major eruption of Vesuvius in December 1631, published by Merian and his heirs in various works, including the Itinerarium Italiae of 1640, the Archontologia cosmica and editions of the Theatrum Europaeum. Merian was born in Basel, but he learned his trade working for Johann Theodor de Bry in Frankfurt, and married de Bry’s daughter. His own business flourished: talented engravers who worked with him include Wenceslaus Hollar. After his death in 1650 the firm passed through three generations of his family.