Death of Pliny. A.R. 828

WAG 7742


This is one of a group of drawings by British artist and book illustrator Edward Francis Burney, depicting scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. This composition was used for a headpiece in 'Le Souvenir, A Pocket Remembrancer', a memorandum book printed by J Cary for Godwin in 1807, on the page for 15th January. One of the inscriptions on the margin, January No. 2, seems to refer to the month in a calendar for which Burney created this frontispiece drawing. He executed many headpieces of this kind for pocket calendars and memorandum books between 1796 to 1829. [See correspondence between Patricia Crown and Edward Morris, in the docket file] Pliny the Elder (23 - 79 CE) was a Roman author. He died after inhaling noxious gas from an eruption at Mount Vesuvius. He had been suffering from asthma. The account of Pliny's death was provided by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, in his letter to Tacitus, 27 years later. Pliny the Elder was on his way to rescue Rectina from the Bay of Naples when Vesuvius erupted.