'Montgolfiere La Gustave', 19 January 1784.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Charles Boily after his original design showing the ascent of 'Le Gustave'. The first manned free flight ascent was made by Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis D'Arlandes in a Montgolfier balloon on 21 November 1783. Although four ladies had ascended in a tethered Montgolfier from the Faubourg St Antoine in Paris on 20 May 1784, the first free flight by a woman was made by Marie Elisabeth Thible, a French opera singer, on 4 June 1784. Madame Thible made her ascent in another Montgolfier balloon, which was named 'Le Gustave' in honour of the Swedish King, Gustav III, who witnesed the ascent from Lyons, France. The balloon reached a height of 8500 feet (2591m) in a flight lasting 45 minutes. Dimensions (overall): 415mm x 540mm.