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Rare View of a Waterspout Storm Observed off the Coast of Stromboli in 1827. Try Shooting at Them!

Impressive and rare lithographed view of waterspouts affecting ships in the Mediterranean. 

The view shows several waterspouts affecting the same area, in which ships are located. It is uncommon to see this many waterspouts in the same area, although it has been known to happen. We find only one other reference to this event, in the 1841 Observations et Recherches Experimentales sure les Causes qui Concourent a la Formation des Trombes [Observations and Experimental Research on the Causes of the Formation of Tornados], by Ath. Peltier. He describes the event as follows (translated from the original French):

Sicilian Sea, 27 June 1827. Seven spouts at the same time, the fourth in a spire, the sixth only a restrained downpour. No gyratory motion observed. Only a lithograph by Engelmann on this spout, no other description than the mention of M. Mazzara, who made the drawing.

In August 1999, four waterspouts were recorded in a line between Corfu and Othonoi, in Greece.

The title describes how the ship that observed this event tried to fire on the waterspout that was nearest it, following a belief at the time that shooting a broadside cannon volley at a waterspout could dissipate the phenomenon.

The view was lithographed at the workshop of Godefroy Englemann in Paris, following a drawing by L. Mazzara. The BNF suggests that the image was published by Felix Achille Saint Aulaire, who published many attractive maritime views. The view is reproduced as the dust jacket image for Bogdan Antonescu's 2017 academic work Tornadoes and Waterspouts in Europe: Depictions from 1555 to 1910.


The view is very rare. OCLC notes only a single example, at the BNF. No records in RBH.

Condition Description
Laid on linen. Minor soiling below the image. Minor wear to the surface. Uneven trim to edges.
Bogdan Antonescu, Tornadoes and Waterspouts in Europe: Depictions form 1555 to 1910. 2017.