Vincent Lunardi, 'The aerial Traveller', with Mrs Ris, 1784.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving showing two portraits published by A Hamilton, London, 1 December 1784. Vincent (or Vincenzo) Lunardi (1759-1806), Italian secretary to the Neapolitan ambasador in London, made the first aerial voyage in a hydrogen balloon in Great Britain, on 15 September 1784. 150,000 spectators watched the launch at Moorfields in London. Lunardi, who took his cat and his dog with him in the balloon, rose to a height of 4 miles, flew northwards and landed in a field near Ware in Hertfordshire. Mrs Ris accompanied Lunardi on one of his later ascents.