Vincent Lunardi, Italian aeronaut and balloonist, 1787.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hand-coloured etching showing a 'Representation of Mr Lunardi making an experiment on the Thames, of his invention, to save persons from drowning.' Vincent (or Vincenzo) Lunardi (1759-1806) was an Italian diplomat who, on 15 September 1784, made the first British ascent in a hydrogen balloon. Here, he is shown paddling with an oar in a tub on the River Thames, a Union Jack flying behind him. Published in London on 4 June, 1787. Dimensions: 305mm x 420mm.