'Blanchard's fourteenth aerostatic experience', 26 August 1785.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Helman after a painting by Louis Joseph Watteau of Lille Academy. French aeronaut Jean-Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809) made this balloon ascent from Lille in northern France with the Chevalier de L'Espinard and travelled a record distance of 300 miles (about 483 km). Blanchard was renowned for his ballooning exploits throughout Europe. On 7 January 1785, he and the American physician John Jeffries (1744-1819) became the first balloonists to cross the English Channel. He also made a number of first ascents in countries: in Germany, Holland and Belgium in 1785; Switzerland in 1788; Poland and Czechoslavakia in 1789; and the United States in 1793.