Antique print of hot air balloonists by Wyatt dated 1785 in frame.

Antique print of hot air balloonists by Wyatt dated 1785 in frame.
An excellent 18th century English print by Wyett of the earliest balloonists or aerial travellers in England. In generally good condition with no foxing. The print dated June 25th 1785 shows Vincent Lunardi, who was the first to make an ascent in a hot air balloon in England, George Biggin and Mrs. Sage, the first Female English aerial traveller. Vincenzo ‘Vincent’ Lunardi was a magnetic youth of “two and twenty years”, and arrived in London with Prince Caramini, Neapolitan Ambassador at the English court. After preliminary experiments, Lunardi’s first flight took place on September 15, 1784 in the presence of the Prince of Wales, Lord North, Pitt, Fox, Burke, the lovely Duchess of Devonshire, other distinguished personages, and assorted animals. At 1 p.m., before a crowd of more than 150,000, Lunardi shook hands with the Prince, lifted his dog and cat into the car of his red and blue striped balloon, climbed in and launched his aerostatic menage a trois into the sky -- rising to a height of 4 miles. He unexpectedly descended near North Mimms, where he left his cat -- who was not pleased with the experience -- in the care of a woman, then took off again -- finally touching down safely in a field near Ware, in Hertfordshire. In this field, called Long Mead or Etna, a monument was duly erected and inscribed: Let Posterity know And knowing be astonished! That On the 15th day of September, 1784 Vincent Lunardi of Lucca in Tuscany The First Aerial Traveller in Britain Mounting from the Artillery Ground in London And traversing the Regions of the Air For two Hours and fifteen Minutes in this Spot Revisited the Earth. On this rude Monument For Ages be recorded That wonderous enterprize, successfully achieved By the powers of Chymistry And the fortitude of man That improvement in Science Which The Great Author of all Knowledge Patronising by his Providence The Inventions of Mankind Hath generously permitted To their Benefit His own Eternal Glory He loved the company of women, and in “homage” to the beauty of Mrs. Sage, he asked for the honor of taking her into the “blue Paradisian skies.” Thrilled with the romantic proposal, she accepted, and their mutual friend George Biggin (distinguished Etonian, amateur chemist and inventor of a coffee percolator) was to accompany them. Judging a balloon’s lifting power was not one of Lunardi’s strong suits, and for his flight on June 29, 1785 it was announced that he would carry up three passengers: Colonel Hastings, George Biggin, and Mrs. Sage. Blinded by Mrs. Sage’s beauty, Lunardi may have misjudged her weight, which was, by her own admission over 200 lbs.--or 14 stone. The balloon was unequal to the task, so Lunardi and Colonel Hastings both displayed gallantry and stepped down. With British flags waving and throngs cheering, the balloon rose quite stodgily into the air, but was soon floating pleasantly over St. James Park and Picadilly, whereupon Mrs. Sage and Mr. Biggin settled down to a lunch of chicken, ham, and Florence wine; nonchalantly tossing the remnants over the side. One hour later, the balloon came to a proper landing in a field near Harrow, where a furious farmer, ‘abusive to a savage degree’, accused the couple of damaging his crops. They were soon rescued from this coarse situation by a group of boys from Harrow school. Mrs. Sage recorded the events and later published her experience as “England’s First Female Aeronaut” in the form of “A Letter Addressed to a Female Friend.” This print is entitled "The Three Favorite Aerial Travellers" Vincent Lunardi First aeronaut in England, George Biggin Esq. Mrs. Sage First English Female Aerial Traveller". It is signed below Rigaud Pinxit and F. Bartelozzi Sculp. June 25th 1785 E. Wyatt next door to the Pantheon, Oxford Street. English circa 1785. Frame size 20 inches by 15 inches ( 50 cms by 37.5 cms), print size 13 inches by 9 inches ( 32.5 cms by 22.5 cms).

Stock Number: 4181

Origin: England

Price: £550

Availability: In Stock

Contact us about this antique

<< Previous Page <<

Click to view similar items.

Currency Converter by Oanda Forex