'Mr Lunardi's Celebrated Air-Balloon', August 1784.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Monochrome print showing Lunardi's proposed balloon ascent. Vincent (or Vincenzo) Lunardi (1759-1806), Italian secretary to the Neapolitan ambasador in London, made the first ascent in a hydrogen balloon in Britain. The ascent was originally intended to take place in August within the grounds of Chelsea Hospital in London but, after rioting following several other failed ballooning attempts, the event was moved to Moorfields and rescheduled for 15 September 1784. 150,000 spectators turned out to watch the ascent from the Artillery Grounds. Lunardi, who took his cat and his dog with him in the balloon, rose to a height of three miles, flew northwards and landed in a field near Ware in Hertfordshire. Dimensions: 276mm x 216mm.