Steel engraving, 33 x 41 cm, engraved by John & Charles Walker after William Barnard Clarke, original hand colour, blank verso.
Excavations began in the mid 18th century, and a substantial part of the ancient city had already been exposed when this map of Pompeii was prepared. Visits to the site by Britons making the Grand Tour and illustrations of ‘Pompeiian furnishings’ helped fuel the late 18th century neoclassical revival. At the foot of the map is a general view of the site, with reconstructed architectural elevations of significant buildings above.
The inset shows the house of Pansa, a vast aristocratic mansion built in the mid 2nd century BCE, which had been subdivided into individual apartments.
The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was founded in 1826 with the high-minded aim of making ‘useful’ information available to self-taught members of the working and lower middle classes. Some of the material was decidedly abstruse, subscribers fell away and the Society was wound up in 1848; however, the series of 209 maps published over a 14 year period from 1829 onwards were highly praised for their superior quality, accuracy and aesthetic appeal and remain an outstanding achievement.