- Museum number
Object: Un Selvaggio montato sopra un Serpente alato che combatti con una fiera somigliante ad un Porco Spino
Series: Raccolta delle ... famoso viaggio dalla Terra alla Luna
Plate 1 of a series of illustrations of an account of a voyage to the moon: a man standing on a snake spears a wild beast like a porcupine.
- Production date
- 1768 (first edition)
Height: 260 millimetres
Width: 370 millimetres (cut)
- Curator's comments
- The complete series consists of a titleplate (dedicated to Sir William Hamilton) and nine plates. The voyage purported to have been executed by Cavaliere Wild Scull and Sig. de la Hire. In the second edition Scull was replaced by Bishop John Wilkins.
See also G.McColley, 'The three editions of Filippo Morghen's Raccolta', in 'Art Bulletin' XIX 1937, pp.112-8.
Text from Ian Jenkins & Kim Sloan, 'Vases and Volcanoes' BM 1996, cat.41:
These two prints are from a fanciful series of nine delightful rococo-chinoiserie images of the life and economy of men on the moon, engraved by Morghen on the basis of a voyage to the moon related by "Cavaliere Wild Scull" and "Sig.r de la Hire". The series was dedicated on the title page "A S. E. il Signor Guglielmo Amilton Inviato di S. M. B.ra alla Corte di Napoli". The title page shows Wild Scull and de la Hire climbing out of their box-like winged flying machine, greeting the inhabitants. The second edition substitutes the name Bishop John Wilkins for Wild Scull and de la Hire, apparently on the recommendation of William Hamilton, who was familiar with the various accounts of voyages to the moon. He knew that Philippe de la Hire did not believe the moon was inhabited, while Bishop Wilkins, first Secretary of the Royal Society, argued that it was not only inhabited but that it might be possible one day to voyage there. Wilkins's 'The Discovery of a World in the Moone' was published in 1638 and revised in 1640. Imaginary voyages to the moon delighted and fascinated readers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and Wilkins's contemporary Bishop Francis Godwin published his 'Man in the Moone' the same year. The accounts of de la Hire, a member of the French Royal Academy of Sciences, were published in 1731.
A third edition of the title page had two interesting additions: the date 1764 was added after the dedication to Hamilton, indicating the date of his arrival at court, and a hydrogen balloon was added to the flying machine. Balloons were not invented until 1783 and this particular type was not in use until 1785, the year of the first cross-channel flight. It serves to indicate the new fascination with the possibility of voyages to the moon boosted by these miraculous inventions. The moon was very much in Hamilton's thoughts in 1787 when, during his regular correspondence with Sir Joseph Banks, he wrote that he had read of the astronomer Herschel's discovery of lava on the moon and his theory explaining it. Banks wrote by return that Herschel's discovery of volcanoes on the moon was generally accepted, and Hamilton must have marvelled at the thought that his own work on volcanoes as creative forces might have repercussions on future scientific discoveries about the planets (Dawson, 'Banks Letters', p. 385).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1987 Feb-May, BM, 'An A-Z of P&D'
1995 Feb-Apr, Manchester, Whitworth AG (Sth Bank), The Grotesque
1995 Apr-Jun, Exeter, Royal Albert Mem Mus (Sth Bank), The Grotesque
1995 Oct-Nov, Leeds City AG & Mus (Sth Bank), The Grotesque
1996, London BM, Vases and Volcanoes: Sir William Hamilton ..., cat.41a
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number