Mrs Sage's balloon, 1785."
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Detail of an oil painting on canvas by an unknown artist, of Mrs Laetitia Sage. Mrs Sage became the first English woman to fly in a hot air balloon in Lunardi's balloon ascent of 29 June 1785. Impressed by her beauty, and as a romantic gesture, Vincent Lunardi asked Mrs Sage to accompany him on his flight. Unfortunately, the combined weight of Mrs Sage and the other two passengers, 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. Mrs Sage is shown wearing a white fur mantle, hat and half-veil, with a balloon motif in the background."