'Mr Lunardi in his basket ready to ascend', 1785.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Frontispiece to 'Lunardi's aerial Voyage in Scotland'. Vincent (or Vincenzo) Lunardi (1759-1806), Italian secretary to the Neapolitan ambassador in London, made the first ascent in a hydrogen balloon in Britain on 15 September 1784. Spurred on by this success, he went on to make several more ascents in England and Scotland. By the end of 1785, he had made two ascents from Edinburgh, two from Glasgow and one from Kelso. Lunardi left Britain for good in 1786, following an accident in Newcastle in which a young man got caught up in the anchor rope of his balloon as it ascended, and subsequently fell to his death. Dimensions: 273mm x 216mm.