Mrs Sage, first lady balloonist, 1785.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Stipple engraving by T Burke after a drawing by S Shelly. Mrs Laetitia Sage became the first English woman to fly in a hot air balloon in Vincent Lunardi's (1759-1806) ascent of 29 June 1785. Impresed by her beauty, Lunardi asked Mrs Sage to accompany him on his flight. Unfortunately, the combined weight of Mrs Sage and the other two pasengers, George Biggin and Colonel Hastings, was too much for the balloon. Lunardi and Hastings agreed to stay behind, allowing Mrs Sage and Biggin to continue alone. Mrs Sage later published her experience as England's first female aeronaut. Published 1 July, 1785. Dimensions: 195mm x 142mm.