Ballooning scenes, c 1784.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Two Bristol Delft ware plates, each with a painted scene of a Lunardi balloon ascending. Italian Vincent (or Vincenzo) Lunardi, secretary to the Neapolitan ambasador in London, made the first aerial voyage by hydrogen balloon in Britain, on 15th September, 1784. Spectators at the launch at Moorfields, London, included the Prince of Wales, in a crowd of around 150,000 people. Lunardi flew northwards and landed in Hertfordshire.