'Le fameux Abbe Miaulan', c 1784.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand coloured etching of Abbot Miaulan (or Miolan) who became famous as a subject of ridicule for his failed balloon ascent from the the Garden of Luxembourg in Paris in 1784. Miaulan and his partner, Janninet, had sold tickets to the mases to observe the spectacle, and crowds had gathered from six in the morning. But by five in the afternoon, the balloon had still not risen from the ground and the crowd became impatient. An angry mob attacked the balloon, tearing it to shreds. The two abbots escaped unharmed but the damage to their reputations was irreparable, and numerous lampoons and caricatures of the pair emerged shortly after. Dimensions: 210mm x 135mm.